There's a really shocking plan for when you have to repay HECS debts hidden in the Budget
May 4, 2016, 6:09 AM
University fees for popular courses are set to rise dramatically with the Turnbull government proposing partial deregulation, dubbed “alternative model flexibility”.
Universities will be able to set their own fees for several courses, but would lose out on government public funding as a result. Treasurer Scott Morrison is also still hoping to bank $1.4 billion in cuts from 2018-2012, nearly $2 billion less than what was originally proposed in Joe Hockey’s 2014 budget. Those original changes are yet to be passed by the Senate, and the amended cuts will go to parliament over the next 12 months.
It’s expected that many universities will make the changes to the cost of Arts degrees. However, any increases won’t add to the bottom line for the campus, instead saving the government money as it withdraws funds.
The Budget Papers state that “this measure is estimated to achieve savings of $2.0 billion over five years from 2015-16 in fiscal balance terms and cost $596.7 million over five years from 2015-16 in underlying cash balance terms.”
But the real sting for students saddled with HECS debt is that the 2016 federal budget is proposing a “household means test” on the repayment threshold. Currently graduates don’t start repaying their debt until they earn more than $54,126.
The changes will take into account of household incomes, which includes defacto partners and the parents of graduates still living at home. That means how much your long-term boyfriend/girlfriend, or mum and dad make will determine when you having to stay paying back student loans.