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NTEU Analysis: Student debt projected to exceed government net debt

National Tertiary Education Union

NTEU analysis released shows that the Abbott Government is shifting debt and costs away from the government and onto students.

Crucially, it shows that the level of debt students will owe the government will exceed the Australian government’s net debt sometime in the early 2020s as a result of their higher education changes.

NTEU National President, Jeannie Rea said this was cost shifting on a grand scale.

“Let us be very clear, the main factor driving up the level of outstanding student debt will be the increased cost of a university degree as a direct result of uncapping fees and the imposition of real interest rates on all outstanding HELP debts from 2016.

“Students will be lumped with exorbitant debts that will take decades to repay. This is on top of the additional $3-400,000 in income tax university graduates will pay over their lifetime.

“As anyone with a mortgage will understand the higher your initial loan and the higher the interest payments the longer it takes to pay off,” Rea said.

Further cost shifting will occur in the area of student scholarships.

The Government will abolish government funded student start-up scholarships and some relocation scholarships saving some $800m over four years, and replace them with new Commonwealth scholarships which will be directly funded by increased student fees.

“The Government’s higher education policies seem to be less about reducing costs and debt, and more about shifting these away from the government and on to students,” said Rea.

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