Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation

Publication Date



Educational economics, Educational finance, Expenditure per student, Expenditures, Federal aid, Private financial support, School funds, State aid, Early childhood education, Primary education, Secondary education, Higher education, Vocational education and training, Trend analysis, Statistics


Australia invested $111.8 billion in education in 2015. The sources of this funding and the pathways it follows through various systems are complex. Rarely are all the components of this system captured in the one place. This report offers a detailed insight into investment in Australian education, capturing data from all levels – from early childhood to higher education – and all funding sources – the federal government, state governments, private contributions and the transfers that take place between these. The complex picture shown in this report offers an important reference point for policy-makers, educators, researchers and economists. It draws on recently released data from the OECD, presented here in a way that offers relevance to the Australian context. The report examines three key questions: How much is spent on education – in total and per student? What proportion of national income is spent on education? What proportion of government spending is devoted to education? For each of these questions, statistics are presented by level of education, sector and funding source. In addition, trends in funding over time are explored. The main body of the report offers overall highlights and graphical representations of the data. Appendix A contains detailed tables with the underlying statistics, while Appendices B and C offer technical information used in making calculations.

Place of Publication

Melbourne, Australia


Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)



Geographic Subject


Article Location