What is HECS-HELP Debt?
HECS-HELP is a loan scheme to help eligible Commonwealth supported students pay their student contribution amounts, until 2005 this was known as HECS.
FEE-HELP is a loan to help eligible fee paying students to pay their tuition fees.
What this means is that most Australian’s can access university and pay their fees after they graduate. This is money that families of High School graduates do not have to find to support their child, or single parents do not have to scrape together while trying to make a future for themselves and their children.
What is all the fuss about?
The nitty gritty is that this debt does not have to be repaid until the graduate reaches an income threshold determined by the government, for 2017-2018 this is around $55,000 before tax, but currently under consideration to lower this to $45,000 before tax.
The government is considering decreasing the threshold for compulsory repayments due to the increasing liability that is HECS-HELP debts – heading to $70 Billion.
Many years ago University was FREE. In a touch of irony, the people who have received the benefit of this free tertiary education are now the ones speaking loudest at the level of HECS-HELP debt of Australians. Gen-X and millennials paying for the benefits of the baby boomers again – story for another day….
The good news
Regardless of what happens to the threshold, having the HECS-HELP system is of great benefit to this country. Virtually anyone in this country has the opportunity to attend university (citizenship and/or residency status pending).
I would very likely not be here writing this if it were not for HECS-HELP.
Managing a family, juggling toddlerdom and working part time while studying would have been unattainable if the university fees were not subsidised and paid in advance by the Government.
Our student loan system of HECS-HELP is implemented and managed by our Government. This enables interest to only accumulate at the rate of inflation, no ‘account management fees’ or similar. When you reach the threshold, minimal repayments are managed through your withholding tax – provided that you tick the ‘Do you have a HECS-HELP debt?’ box or advise your payroll personnel.
In a Nutshell,
Our current Tertiary Student Loan system is brilliant. Yes, this level of debt is approaching $70 Billion dollars, but the benefits to the community economically and socially would be far more than that.
Any policy that enables the wider community to access the level of education they desire has many long term benefits for a country at family level all the way to increased taxes paid from potentially higher wages.