Independent Schools

Funding of Independent Schools


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

Non-Government School Funding Changes

In September 2018, the Australian Government announced – in response to a review by the National School Resourcing Board – that it would update a key element of the formula used to determine a non-state school's parent/guardians and community's capacity to contribute (CTC) to their child’s education.

The change involves moving from using a socio-economic status (SES) score based on the characteristics of the people in the area where a student lived to a direct measure of income (DMI) based on the median income of parents/guardians to calculate their CTC.

The difference in methodology means that for most schools, there will be a change in their CTC scores between the two methodologies. Some schools will see a resulting increase in funding, some schools will have the same CTC score and therefore no change in funding, and some schools will see a reduction in funding.

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


Timeline for Implementation

The DMI will replace the current SES measure in the calculation of Australian Government funding for all non-state schools from 2022.

However, it will apply for some non-state schools from 2020 where it results in a better financial outcome than using one of two other measures,  2011 SES or 2016 SES.

The Department of Education, Training and Skills has completed these calculations and determined the best outcome for individual schools.

The Department sent letters to all Queensland independent schools in February 2020 outlining each school’s new DMI score, which of the three measures their funding will be based on in 2020 and their estimated per student recurrent funding entitlements to 2030.


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


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