You will be aware from media coverage that the Federal Government has released a Higher Education Reforms Package. You can view the package online here: https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/ed17-0138_-_he_-_glossy_budget_report_acc.pdf
Significant aspects of the proposed reform, which impact on students and applicants, include:
- The maximum student contribution will increase from 1 January 2018. The Commonwealth will remain the majority funder of higher education teaching and learning.
- Subsidies provided under the Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) will be subject to a 2.5 per cent efficiency dividend applied in each of 2018 and 2019. The existing medical loading of $1394 per EFTSL in 2017 will be extended to include veterinary science and dentistry units of study from 2018 to improve the funding arrangements for these courses.
- A new set of repayment thresholds will be introduced from 1 July 2018, affecting all current and future HELP debtors by changing the timing and quantity of their repayments.
- 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 to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
- From 1 January 2018, subsidies for most Australian permanent residents and most New Zealand (NZ) citizens enrolling in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) will be withdrawn, making them fee-paying students.
- These students will now be able to access HELP loans.
Note: These proposed reforms have not yet been legislated, and will need to pass the Senate.
At this time, VTAC does not have any further information regarding these reforms. We will endeavour to keep careers practitioners updated with further information when we receive it. VTAC publications that are currently going to print will include a note about these proposed reforms, and we will update all online publications once confirmed information is available.