Vinnies helps families stretched by back to school costs

The St Vincent de Paul Society in Queensland has been inundated with more than 400 calls for financial assistance to help families with the cost of getting children back to school.

The Catholic Leader reports the number of Queensland families asking for help has increased - 853 students received help so far this financial year compared with a total of 593 students helped for the entire 2005 to 2006 year.

QLD Vinnies state president John Campbell (pictured) said increasing numbers of parents were seeking help to support their children at school, particularly at the start of the school year.

"Parents who apply to the Children's Education Fund typically want help with school book purchasing or hire, and buying uniforms, shoes, backpacks, lunchboxes and other school essentials," Mr Campbell said.

"While costs vary from school to school, the cost of equipping each child for high school ranges from $500 to $800 for state school enrolments.

"The cost at private schools is higher again," he said.

With an average cost of more than $200 for clothes, $90 for shoes, $100 on computer or electronic equipment and nearly $75 on school supplies, the costs added up quickly for parents, Mr Campbell said.

"Not only is the number of people applying for assistance increasing, but the dollar value of financial help is also growing," he said.

However, Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Mike Byrne has indicated that Catholic schools try to keep school fees to a minimum "to remain open and accessible to all who seek their values regardless of socio-economic situation."

School fees burden (Catholic Leader 18/01/08)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Leader

18 Jan 2008