Independent Schools

Funding of Independent Schools


Parents and the Australian Commonwealth and Northern Territory Government share the financial responsibility for educating children in Independent schools in the Northern Territory.

Australian Government funding for non-government schools reflects the policy position that responsibility for funding is shared between the Commonwealth, the state and territory governments, and the parent and guardians of students attending those schools. 

The capacity to contribute (CTC) of a school is the anticipated capacity of the school community to financially contribute towards the school’s operating cost.

CTC is used to discount the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) base funding amount for these schools. From 2020, the Direct Measure of Income (DMI) will be used to determine CTC for non‑government schools.

The DMI links parent and guardian names and addresses collected through the annual Student Residential Address and Other Information Collection to data from the Multi‑Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP)

The MADIP is a partnership among six Australian Government agencies that securely brings important national datasets together to maximise their value for policy analysis, research, and statistical purposes. 

The participating agencies are the 

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 
  • Australian Taxation Office (ATO), 
  • Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE), 
  • Department of Health, 
  • Department of Social Services and Services Australia. 

Each participating agency collects personal information related to its functions or activities and discloses this information to the ABS for the MADIP as authorised by law. 


A school’s DMI score for a year is worked out as follows:

Step 1.Determine the annual income of the parent (s) / guardian (s) of a student at the school for the year.

Step 2.Determine the annual family income for each student.

Step 3.Identify the median family income of the school.

Step 4.Translate the school’s median family income into a DMI score.

The DMI does not apply to Special, Special Assistance or Majority Indigenous Schools which are funded at the maximum Commonwealth funding rate.


Choice and Affordability Fund

The Choice and Affordability (CAF) fund was developed to support the non-government school sector, to help provide a flexible means for driving government priorities. AISNT will administer funding in line with agreed priorities for the fund. This fund commenced in 2020, and will be provided to the non-government sector over the next 10 years until 2029.

This fund will supplement Commonwealth recurrent funding, to help drive government priorities.
This includes;

  • Supporting parental choice and affordability of schools.
  • Assisting schools during the transition to the new Direct Measure of Income (DMI) for determining a non-government schools capacity to contribute.
  • Assisting schools in regional and remote areas; and schools in drought affected areas.
  • Enhancing student wellbeing and support initiatives.
  • Lifting outcomes in underperforming schools.

Further Information:

Choice and Affordability Fund
Guidelines for CAF Fund
DESE, What is the Choice and Affordability Fund


AISNT Choice and Affordability Fund 2022 - 2025

Fact Sheets

The Department of Education has prepared a range of fact sheets for schools explaining the new DMI.

Fact Sheet - What is the Direct Measure of Income

Fact Sheet – What is the Methodology for the Direct Measure of Income

Fact Sheet – What is the Capacity to Contribute Appeals Process?

Fact Sheet - What is the Choice and Affordability Fund?

Independent Schools Council of Australia (ISCA) has prepared a fact sheet on Direct Measure of Income Methodology

Fact Sheet - Direct Measure of Income Methodology