Release type: Media Release

Date:

Securing the future of Australia’s higher education system

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham
Minister for Education and Training

The Turnbull Government has welcomed the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee’s report into the Student Loan Sustainability Bill 2018 and its recommendation that it be passed through Parliament.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the passage of the Bill through Parliament was vital to ensuring the long-term sustainability of Australia’s world-class higher education system.

“This Bill will ensure Australia can maintain a sustainable, accessible and fair higher education loan system into the future,” Minister Birmingham said

“We have a generous student loans scheme in this country that allows students to have access to our quality higher education system without paying a cent upfront.

“However at the same time there is over $55 billion of student debt with about a quarter of this never expected to be repaid. The Committee also recognised ‘The demand-driven funding model entails significant increased costs to the Commonwealth, which are increasing at an unsustainable rate under the current arrangements.’

“We need to make changes to ensure our world-leading HELP system is sustainable into the future.

“This Bill will put Australia’s higher education system on a more sustainable and responsible path to ensure future students continue to have access to quality higher education that is backed by Commonwealth support.

The Turnbull Government’s Student Loan Sustainability Bill will:

  • provide a new minimum repayment income of $45 000 for the compulsory repayment of Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debts
  • set new repayment thresholds for HELP, and align the indexation of the repayment thresholds to the Consumer Price Index
  • and introduce a new lifetime limit on how much students can borrow under HELP to cover their tuition fees ($150,000 for students studying medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses, and $104,440 for other students).

Minister Birmingham said he thanked the Committee for its work and that he would continue the positive and constructive conversations he was having with his Parliamentary colleagues about the Bill.

The Senate Committee’s report can be found at: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Education_and_Employment/StudentLoansBill2018