Retraction: why we have taken down two articles on student fees

Today we removed two articles published on The Conversation: “Modelling shows more students face lifetime debt under deregulated fees” and “Students could be in debt for the rest of their lives”.

Both articles were removed due to a significant error in the modelling on which they were based. It was claimed in both pieces that university fee changes could saddle students with debts that could not be repaid in their lifetime.

This was based on an incorrect calculation that a student with a A$50,000 HECS-HELP debt would have to earn an average of A$80,000 a year to pay off the debt before retirement, and it would take 43 years. Subsequent calculations using the same rate of income and interest show it would actually take 11 years to pay off a A$50,000 debt.

We are currently working on getting the numbers right. A more detailed retraction will be published along with the correct calculation and an explanation of how the error occurred.

We are committed to providing accurate and reliable information. Where errors do occur, it’s our policy to correct them promptly and be transparent about what happened.

We apologise for the mistake.

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