On February15 the Senate referred the government’s student loan legislation to a committee inquiry. The bill reduces the threshold for repaying HELP debts to $45 000 and puts a life-time cap on student borrowings. Submissions close today and as of lunchtime yesterday there were as many as one, from the Regional Universities Network.
RUN kept it brief, suggesting the new threshold would, “negatively impact on low-income households” and suggesting increasing repayment rates for student debtors with higher incomes. The lobby also argued a limit on student borrowing “is a disincentive for life-long learning,” instead suggesting a cap on total debt at any time. “If someone has paid off all or part of their loan they can borrow again. That way, if an older worker needs to re-skill, they are able to do so.” RUN also proposes ministerial discretion to vary the $104 000 limit on loans, for example to $150 000 for aviation courses.