Education Minister Christopher Pyne cannot disguise the disintegration of his higher education package with dodgy modelling or desperate spin, Shadow Minister for Higher Education Senator Kim Carr said today.
According to Mr Pyne, “typical” university graduates will pay only $3 to $5 a week extra in loan repayments over one to two years based on debts of $30,000 and $40,000 respectively.
“The Minister is happy to use dodgy figures to try to dupe students into saddling themselves with huge debts but refuses to release those figures for public scrutiny,” Senator Carr said.
“Nevertheless, it’s clear that this modelling is based on fanciful assumptions.
“Even at current fee structures it talks down debt levels – law and medical graduates, for example, are likely to incur HECS-HELP debts of more than $50,000.
“Further, Mr Pyne assumes a graduate starting salary of $67,848, whereas Graduate Careers Australia puts the average graduate starting salary at $55,000 for males and $50,000 for females.
“In fact, his own Department of Education starting rate for graduates is $58,400.
“But where it really goes off the rails is in downplaying fee rises and compound interest rates of up to 6 per cent on debts under Mr Pyne’s proposed changes.
“According to Universities Australia, for example, engineers could graduate with a debt of $119,000 and nurses with a debt of $53,000.
“A $60,000 HECS debt unpaid for 10 years, for example, will grow to $97,734 at an interest rate of 5 per cent – that’s a far cry from Mr Pyne’s simplistic ‘modelling’.
“The Minister needs to come clean and stop hiding the impact of his policies. Release the modelling. Release the assumptions. Tell the truth and stop the spin.”
WEDNESDAY, 4 JUNE 2014