The income threshold for HECS repayments could be significantly lowered as part of the upcoming federal budget, which is set to include a raft of cash-saving measures targeting the university sector.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham has given a rough outline of the proposed measures a full week before the next budget actually drops, and it seems mighty likely that punters earning under the current threshold of $52,000 will be required to pay off their HECS debts.
The potential move will aim to redress the apparent $52 billion debt amassed by current and former university students, but precise details on where the threshold will be lowered to aren’t yet available. It’s also not yet known if the new threshold will retroactively affect graduates, in addition to people yet to undertake their tertiary studies.
Birmingham is expected to outline his proposals to industry heads and university head honchos a bit later on tonight. You can also expect to hear about the government’s plan to increase student fees, and to trim federal funding for universities on the basis that they’re making enough cash as-is.
Yep, even if that goddamn deregulation deal is dead, the government still seems to be engineering those fee hikes.
Elements of the education sector have already criticised the package as potentially discouraging to young people seeking higher education, and you’re liable to hear a lot more about that when Birmingham’s full report is let loose.