Catholic schools are typically regarded as great value for money, providing high-quality education supported by quality facilities and learning environments. It is the policy of the Catholic Schools Office that financial hardship should not prevent any child from attending a Catholic school and no child will be denied a Catholic education because of a family’s genuine inability to pay the required school fees. Any family experiencing financial difficulties is entitled to fee assistance. Your local school principal will be able to discuss this with you.
Together with parents, clergy and school staff, St Mary’s is committed to offering the children in the Lakes region access to schools in which their faith can be nurtured in outstanding learning environments. We seek to assist young people realise their full potential, taking into account their unique spiritual, intellectual, physical and social needs.
The greater part of diocesan schools’ funding comes from state and commonwealth government grants, but the commitment and continuing financial contribution of parents and parish communities is still essential to fill the gap between these government funds and the actual cost of running our schools. School fees comprise three components – Diocesan tuition fees, individual school resource and service fees, and Diocesan Family School Building Levy (DFSBL).
School fees are an integral part of our Catholic school system and parents are required to sign a fee agreement commitment form on enrolment. Fee arrangements may be considered in extenuating circumstances and in consultation with the principal. The annual fees are divided equally across three terms.
Diocesan Tuition Fees 2023
The 2020 full rate Diocesan Tuition Fees are as follows:
- Kinder to Year 6 – $1,377 per year
In 2020, the family discount on Diocesan Tuition Fees, full rate, will be:
- 1 child family – 0% – full rate to be applied
- 2 child family – 10% – each child
- 3 child family – 20% – each child
- 4 child family – 40% – each child
- 5+ child family – 50% – each child
Fees are levied over three accounts (Term 1, 2 and 3).
School Resource and Service Fees
There is a Resource Fee of $480 per year for primary students. This fee covers stationery items as well as specialist materials needed for particular KLA areas.
Resource costs are set by the principal in consultation with staff, parents, parish priests and the CSO. Excursions and some incursions are an additional expense and must be paid before the date of the event.
Diocesan Family School Building Levy (DFSBL)
The DFSBL is $1,517 per year and is charged to the oldest child for each family. The levy is pooled to contribute towards past, present and future costs for building projects across all existing and for new catholic schools, and the acquisition of land for school purposes.
The DFSBL rate is reviewed, recommended and approved in the same manner as mentioned earlier for the tuition fees and discounts.
If you have an older child at a Catholic primary or high school in the Diocese, they will be billed by their school.
The levies collected are used for building projects in all schools within the Diocese according to maintenance needs and building priorities developed by the FSBL committee administering the funds.
Diocesan Pastoral Contribution
The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle consists of parishes, schools, CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning, St Nicholas Early Education and the Curia offices. The diocesan offices exist to support the work of parishes and other pastoral ministries that are the responsibility of the bishop and the diocesan community. There are about 160,000 Catholics residing in our Diocese.
The voluntary diocesan pastoral contribution for 2020 will remain at $300 per family ($100 per term for three terms).
These funds will support the ongoing pastoral works of the Diocese, which include, among many initiatives:
- the diocesan pastoral ministries office and the activities of its many advisory councils — the Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Adult Faith Formation Council, the Liturgy Council, the Ecumenical and Interfaith Council, the Social Justice Council and the Diocesan Council of Ministry with Young People
- the provision of chaplains ministering in the following areas — University of Newcastle, Newcastle Port, prisons, hospitals and CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning
- Family Community Faith co-ordinators who reach out and connect families to their local parish and school
- pastoral co-ordinators who work in those parishes without a resident parish priest
- DARA van, Aboriginal Catholic Mission, Refugee Services, the Apostleship to Seafarers
- worship and prayer, sacramental programs, marriage and relationship education, family ministry co-ordinators, Caritas Australia and Catholic Mission.
A non-refundable $100 acceptance fee is to be paid when applying for enrolment at St Mary’s.
Special Fee Reductions
To assist families with limited financial resources, St Mary’s offers a lower tuition fee to means-tested low-income families such as Health Care and Pension Card holders. This rate is 50 per cent of the diocesan tuition fee full rate for each child. This discount applies only to the diocesan tuition fee, not to the DFSBL or other resource and service fees charged by each individual school.
A genuine inability to meet school account charges does not exclude access to any school within the Diocese for a child of a family genuinely committed to Catholic faith and practice. Parents concerned about school fees should ensure they make contact with the school. Diocesan provisions exist to help in this area, and the principal can also exercise discretion where genuine need exists.
Payment of Fees
Accounts are sent home at the beginning of Terms 1, 2 and 3 on a 21-day schedule.
Payments can be made via cash, cheque, BPAY, money order, credit card (over the phone), and EFTPOS. Direct debit from your bank, credit union or building society account is also available. Please contact our senior school support officer, for this method of payment.
A range of alternative payment plans are available. These include dividing the fees over 10 equal payments from February to November. Please contact our school office for further details.
Please be aware that if your direct debit is dishonoured more than three times the school will cancel the deduction. For any dishonoured direct debit, the school is charged a fee of $2.50 by your financial institution. This fee will be passed on to the fee payer and will appear on the next statement. No receipts are issued – please check bank account for proof of payment.