REGIONAL NSW parents could pay as much as $50,000 per child over the course of 13 years of public schooling, research has found.
A survey of 6900 members of the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) suggests school fees, clothing, extracurricular activities, computers, travel and other necessities would add up to $49,854 over the course of a child's public education.
A regional NSW student in a government primary school would cost about $2954 dollars this year and a state high school student $3877.
ASG, a not-for-profit group which invests money on behalf of its parent members, said the figures had been rounded and "represent upper ranges parents can reasonably expect to pay".
The figures include extracurricular activities - such as camps, sports coaching, and music lessons - as the largest expense.
But the choice of school will have the greatest effect on parents' bank balances.
Those choosing a Catholic school could pay as much as $133,930 to educate their child through kindergarten and 12 years of school.
The private school path is dearer again at an average of $277,545.
Education in regional NSW remains considerably cheaper than in metropolitan areas - $13,000 cheaper in the public system.
A private school education in Sydney could cost as much as $434,880.
A Department of Education and Communities spokesperson said in the public system the only mandatory fees were for some elective secondary school subjects."
Resources at all public schools, including provision of teachers and support staff, are not dependent on parents' ability to pay prescribed fees," the spokesperson said.
They doubted the kind of modelling done by AGS would be valid.
"There are too many variables to speculate on the cost of any individual student commencing kindergarten this year and who continues through the public school system until the high school certificate."
Dubbo mother-of-five Brigid Palin said her older children were costing her more in excursions and equipment such as scientific calculators.
"Last year I probably spent $2000 on school excursion, easy" she said.
Growing bones also impose a cost.
"They might go through four or five pairs of shoes in a year," Mrs Palin said.