School fees are expensive enough but families are also forking out a small fortune years before their kids arrive for their first day.

Fees at Sydney private school have skyrocketed with some set at more than $38,000 a year for the first time. Over the past six years, fees at the state capitals private schools have risen by more that 25 per cent. The rise has far outstripped the consumer price index which rose 1.9 per cent over the 12 months to September 2018.

Parents are being charged a non-refundable fee just to put their childrens names on a waiting list. Picture: iStockSource:istock

Australian parents are being slugged hundreds of dollars in fees just to place their childs name on private school waiting lists with no guarantee of a secured place.

Comparison .aurecently analysed the application fees of the top 20 non-government schools in Australia and found parents were paying a one-off fee of between $100 and $500 per application.

On average, these fees cost $242 each but can be capped if there are multiple siblings enrolling.

A previous Finder survey also found 6 per cent of parents had paid multiple waitlist fees to ensure their kids got into a private school.

If they all paid the average waitlist fee for at least two private schools for one child, it would equate to $78.8 million worth of applications per year across Australia.

We to a Sydney mother of three who did not wish to be named who had recently put her eldest childs name down on three high school waiting lists.

Once school charged a non-refundable $200 fee, while another charged a $220 application fee, plus an additional $500 to secure the childs place.

The third school charged a $220 application fee and also a $1000 fee for a guaranteed acceptance, which the family declined.

That meant the family had paid more than $1000 just for one child.

While that mother told she was happy to pay waitlist fees as it prevented parents from applying for scores of schools and creating an administrative nightmare for campuses, she said the competition over places meant parents were often forced to place their childrens names on the lists when they were still infants, more than a decade before they would actually enrol.

Would you be happy to pay a private school application fee? Picture: iStockSource:istock

She said in that long time period, the familys circumstances could have changed completely they may have moved away or may simply no longer be able to afford private school altogether which meant a great deal of money could be lost in unnecessary fees.

Another parent told .au they had put their childs name down at several leading private schools as they wanted to have the option to enrol him into a school environment that will best suit his personality and needs.

However, as the family were unsure where they would be living in future, they felt compelled to apply for different schools across several states as an assurance for the future.

And another mother said she had paid $100 to apply for one school, with no regrets.

I dont think it is a bad thing as it makes sure only serious people put their names down, the woman said.

It stopped me from running around town and putting our name down at several schools.

However, Finder money expert Bessie Hassan said the research found around 367,000 Australian families couldnt afford to pay for private school fees out of their disposable income, with parents forced to go into debt or remortgage their house to pay for private school fees.

All parents want the best for their kids, but you shouldnt put your finances at risk, especially for a spot thats not even guaranteed, she said.

Just be mindful that if your child does get accepted youll need to fork out extra to secure their place and theres the tuition fees so its a good idea to get on the front foot and start saving.

According to the most recentAustralian Bureau of Statistics(ABS) figures, in 2018 there were 3,893,834 students enrolled in 9477 schools across the country, with 65.7 per cent of students enrolled in government schools, 19.7 per cent in Catholic schools and 14.6 per cent in independent schools.

Last year, theASG Planning for Education Indexrevealed skyrocketing education costs could push private school fees up to a staggering $240,679 per child for children born last year who will start school in either 2022 or 2023.

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