HECS

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Vocational education and training students probably need income-contingent loans more than university students. Francisco Osorio/Flickr

Modifying student loan system could ensure access for all students

The HECS revolution remains seriously incomplete because it does not extend to many parts of the vocational education and training sector - which still suffers from the scourge, hostility and unfairness of upfront fees.
Shorten is right to see the importance in science, technology and maths, but his policies don’t have proven efficacy. AAP/Lucas Coch

Labor’s plans for science, technology, maths education well-meaning but misguided

A heavy focus of Bill Shorten's budget reply speech was preparing for the future with science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. While this focus is a step in the right direction, the policies probably aren't the right way to go about it.
It seems the desired effect of Pyne’s uni reforms is to stratify the system, making the top unis better and the middle-tier unis worse. A progressive tax would allow him to achieve this goal. AAP

HECS tax would have Pyne’s desired effect: stratifying unis

It seems the desired effect of Pyne's uni reforms is to stratify the system, making the top unis better and the middle-tier unis worse. A progressive tax would allow him to achieve this goal.
By letting students in who might not otherwise be able to afford university, HECS sharpens the price signal. Image sourced from Shutterstock.com

Time for a blunt lesson on HECS and price signals

There continues to be a lot of discussion about the future of tertiary education in Australia. Should fees be deregulated, places capped, interest on student loans charged at the bond rate? And on, and…
The Dawkins reforms to higher education in 1989 saw the creation of HECS and arguably the biggest shake-up of higher education the country had seen - but how did it come about? AAP

Cabinet papers 1989: Hawke government considered interest on HECS

The release of the 1988-89 cabinet documents show that the Hawke government’s plans for Australian higher education were in some ways as radical as the policies that Education Minister Christopher Pyne…
Together with the government, the banking sector could play a role in easing the transition for mining workers. Tony McDonough/AAP

HECS for the unemployed: a finance answer to mining’s decline

A decade of strong mining revenue growth has seen workers disproportionately located in the “mining states” of Queensland and Western Australia. With mining investment now waning, workers drawn by in the…

On the creation of higher education cartels

I love the free market. It means my morning cup of coffee costs roughly the same at almost all the coffee shops near campus. The free market is however ruthlessly efficient, even if it is largely responsible…
The idea of adding student income support to their HELP debt has been floated, but student debt is already high. Shutterstock

Student debt costs are an obstacle to new student loans

A Grattan Institute report I co-authored highlights student debt costs, with the finding that the government could save $800 million a year by retrieving unpaid debts from deceased estates and students…
Would selling the student loan debt really be such a bad thing? www.shutterstock.com.au

How selling off student debt will affect students: it won’t

The cost of the national student loan debt held by the federal government has gathered pace to pop the A$30 billion mark, perpetuating rumours that a debt sale could be on the cards. Should that happen…
Higher education costs money, so someone always has to pay. Graduate image from www.shutterstock.com

Someone always pays: why higher education is never free

After some speculation, this week education minister Christopher Pyne has said the Coalition has no plans to increase university fees. His comments come after much debate over selling the HELP – formerly…
Potential changes to the ownership of student loan repayments could make reform of the system more complicated. Student loan image from www.shutterstock.com

Don’t sell off HECS: reforming student loans could bring in real savings

According to the budget papers, Australian students and former students could owe the government more than $40 billion in unpaid Higher Education Loan Program debt by 2017. Unsurprisingly, HELP, formerly…
Education Minister Christopher Pyne has flagged the possibility of selling off Australia’s HECS debt to help raise funds for the government. Alan Porritt/AAP

Selling off the HECS debt could be a super solution

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has confirmed the government is considering securitising Australia’s HECS debt, and has referred the issue to the Commission of Audit. This has immediately attracted…
The HECS black hole has reached $450 million. AAP/Luis Enrique Ascui

Expat workers have cost Australia $450 million in HECS

Australian university graduates who move overseas to work for long periods have deprived the country of about $450 million…

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