Melbourne Uni report confirms twice as long to repay HECS debts

New evidence backs in existing expert modelling showing the Abbott Government’s higher education changes will saddle students with massive debts, which some may never pay off.

The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research report predicts a doubling of the time required to repay HECS debts and warns that up to 40 per cent of women might never repay their HECS debt under the Government's proposal to charge a real rate of interest on HECS-HELP loans.

Shadow Higher Education Minister Senator Kim Carr said the new report backed up a number of other studies showing the Pyne package would lead to skyrocketing debt levels.“The Government cannot ignore these findings which demonstrate, once again, the essential unfairness and bias in its proposed changes,” Senator Carr said 

“The package is rotten to the core and will have a devastating effect on students from low- and middle-income families, rural and regional backgrounds, and women in particular.”

The report concludes that:

  • the cumulative effect of the whole package is to increase dramatically the time to repay HELP debts –  by 10 years (even without fee increases) to more than 15 years for some graduates.
  • the loan scheme could be put "in future jeopardy as governments/taxpayers meet the cost of unpaid HECS‐HELP debt".

Senator Carr said the Abbott Government could not continue to dispute these findings, which align with credible modelling by HECS architect Professor Bruce Chapman of the ANU, NATSEM and Universities Australia, among others. 

“Christopher Pyne has failed to release a single piece of modelling or analysis that contradicts the damning findings from a growing number of independent studies,” Senator Carr said. 

“The Abbott Government should be condemned for embarking upon this ill-fated policy adventure with no understanding of its consequences for students, universities and the wider economy, including the housing market and the labour market.

“So much for a government of no surprises.”

FRIDAY, 5 SEPTEMBER 2014


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