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Update on the Higher Education Reform Package

News story

In the 2017-18 federal budget, the Australian Government proposed a range of reforms aimed at improving the higher education sector. In December 2017, the Government announced that many of these proposed changes would not proceed.

The Government will instead peruse a number of other policy measures, which will make Commonwealth support better targeted, make sure taxpayers receive value for money and help students make informed choices when it comes to study.

The main changes that may impact students are as follow and subject to the passage of legislation:

New repayment thresholds and indexation arrangements for the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)

From 1 July 2018, the Australian Government will introduce a new set of HELP repayment thresholds, which will affect all current and future HELP debtors by changing the timing and amounts of their repayments.

The compulsory HELP repayment threshold will be set at $45,000 with a one per cent payment rate, while the second threshold will be $51,957 with a two per cent repayment rate. The new maximum threshold will be $131,989 with a repayment rate of 10 per cent.

From 1 July 2019, the indexation of Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) repayment thresholds, currently linked to Average Weekly Earnings (AWE), will be changed to align with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

New Limit for Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loans

From 1 January 2019, the Government will introduce a combined cap in the amount of tertiary assistance a student can access for tuition fees.

The new HELP limit will apply for HECS-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Student Loans. This limit will be $150,000 for students undertaking medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses, and $104,440 for all other students.

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