Families Turn to Community Groups for Rising Schools Costs

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Queensland families are turning to community organisations for no interest loans to help cover rising costs of back to school expenses, according to Good Shepherd Microfinance Chief Operating Officer Lisa Carroll.

New figures released this week revealed the average cost of a public education for a child to Year 12 in Queensland had reached more than $50,000[i].

Statistics also showed the average Australian household spent $44 a week on education - a 44 per cent increase compared with five years ago and an 81 per cent jump over the past 15 years[ii].

Ms Carroll said many families were turning to No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) loans to help cover the costs of books, uniforms and other back to school expenses.

“Parents are having to pay out hundreds or thousands of dollars before their child even begins the school year, making it difficult for many people on low incomes to meet basic household needs,” Ms Carroll said.

“Many children are now required to use their own personal devices in the classroom, putting parents under even more financial pressure to provide laptops and tablets at their own expense.

“Nobody wants their child to be disadvantaged or taught separately from their peers because they don’t have the right equipment.”

Ms Carroll said Good Shepherd Microfinance had a network of NILS providers across the state that offered no-interest loans of up to $1,500 for essential goods and services, such as educational costs.

“These can be used to cover items such as computers, tablets, textbooks and even fees,” she said.

“To many, the cost of attending school is becoming unmanageable. There are options out there but many people on low incomes are often unaware of what is available to them.

“Families unable to afford to save for education costs find NILS a huge help and a safe and affordable way to cover some of their expenses.”

Ms Carroll said Good Shepherd Microfinance also provided StepUP low interest loans and Essentials by AAI affordable home and contents insurance.

Good Shepherd Microfinance offers the NILS program through 664 locations across Australia through a local community provider network.

More information at nils.com.au  or phone 13 6457.

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