The Australian Parliament has suspended, for six months, the 25% FEE-HELP loan fee incurred by students borrowing to fund their studies with independent higher education providers. This was a measure that the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) successfully argued for as part of a range of measures to support students and their higher education providers through the Covid-19 crisis.
Key Issues —
The 25% FEE-HELP Loan Fee, otherwise known as the higher education Student Loan Tax, sees students studying with most independent higher education incur a charge of 25% over and above the value of the loan taken out to fund their course.
Legislation before the parliament introduces an exemption from the requirement to pay the 25% loan fee is for units of study with census dates from 1 April to 30 September 2020.
The six-month suspension of the higher education Student Loan Tax was announced as part of a series of reforms to support students during the Covid-19 crisis. Indeed, ITECA was a strong advocate for this measure as part of the political advocacy associated with the Covid-19 Response: Backing Independent Tertiary Education Providers action plan presented to government by ITECA.
ITECA, thanks to the great support of its higher education membership, is currently lobbying for the permanent removal of the higher education Student Loan Tax.
The advice and experience of ITECA members is clear, the higher education Student Loan Tax acts to limit a student’s choice of independent higher education provider.
Whereas students studying with independent higher providers (with the exception of Bond University, The University of Notre Dame Australia, University of Divinity, and Torrens University Australia), students at public universities do not pay the higher education Student Loan Tax.
The legislation introduced into the parliament amends the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cth), which was introduced into the parliament on 11 June 2020.
Independent providers support around 10% of the 1.5 million students in higher education.
Member Engagement —
ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Higher Education Reference Committee.
Further Information —
For more information on this issue please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 1300 421 017. Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ITECAust.
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