Comrades, do you know that in that Omni-Bill (more like a bloody Omni-shambles) that Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison (ScoMo) wants to push through both Houses of Parliament contains some very nasty surprises for anybody with an HECS debt. Morrison has come up with this very nasty surprise in that bundle of bills
At the moment the HECS repayment threshold is $54,869 pa, just under $55,000 pa. That means you don’t pay anything back if you earn less than that amount. But Morrison wants to change that threshold to $51,956 pa. That means more people are going to have to repay their HECS debt sooner and faster than before. This change will impact everyone with an HECS and FEE-HELP debt.
Students on Youth Allowance will also cop it as well. Until this year, students on Youth Allowance were eligible for a $1,025 scholarship each semester. As of the 1st January, new students who didn’t receive a scholarship had the opportunity to take a loan out instead, gees thanks for that Mr. Morrison. The government is also proposing that students who were enrolled prior to 2016 will lose their scholarships, saving the government $405 million.
The Turnbull Government – like the conservative government in Britain – is loading young students up with more and more debt and expects them to pay it off quicker. It’s a bit like your bank manager offering you a huge loan and after you sign the contract turns around and increases the interest rate to 10 per cent and expects you to pay it off in 10 years instead of 20 years!
The Turnbull and successive governments have for years been pushing more and more debt onto younger people and expects them to pay it off no matter what. Now, this is despite many of the people proposing these harsh changes to HECS and FEE-HELP were the beneficiaries of free higher education, with many on the government front benches benefiting from free tertiary education. Yet they don’t like to be reminded of this.
The argument used to support increasing HECS debt and earlier repayments from graduates is they are paid higher salaries when they enter the workforce and thus can afford it. However, recent statics have shown there is an over-supply of graduates such as teachers and even doctors, with many forced to go overseas for work and of course experience.
Most students who undertake higher education might undertake double-degrees in law, engineering or science. Then upon graduating they might enrol into a graduate diploma or a master’s course. After a few years you might decide to up-grade your skills and enrol into another course of study to assist your career. Either way this also costs money at the full-fee rate and you can either pay for it, or defer the payment onto FEE-HELP and eventually pay it off through the taxation system each and every pay until it is finally paid off. The debt is indexed to the CPI rate. If you’re fortunate enough, you might be able to claim your study as a legitimate work expense.
Your degree, depending on the discipline of study will vary from $6000 to $10,000, and if it’s a double degree then up to $18,000. A full fee degree could cost up to $90,000, depending on the discipline studied. With medicine, veterinary science and dentistry up to $122,000.
So a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) HECS degree with further post graduate study, which includes Fee-HELP could cost a student from $30 to $60 thousand, depending on the field of study.
So the Omni-Bill will quickly turn into an Omni-Shambles for both the Turnbull Government and current and future university students.