Peak student groups have united to oppose the government’s student loan legislation. The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations and the National Union of Students says the bill “will compromise access to higher education.”
The legislation, expected in the Senate next week, reduces the HELP debt repayment threshold from $55 000 to $45 000, with a starting 1 per cent repayment. It also caps total lifetime study debt at $104 000 for most courses.
“The number of graduates earning below the current repayment threshold reflects a failure of this government in providing a quality education. The solution is to adequately fund universities, not burden low income Australians with this government’s failures in higher education,” CAPA and NUS claim.
Just about all submissions to a Senate committee inquiry into the legislation share the students distaste for the bill.
However, the Department of Education and Training submits that the new threshold would cost workers on base incomes $9 a week.