A Lifeline for Regional Students: student debts cut by $3 billion

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Young people living in regional Victoria will be among the beneficiaries of the Albanese Labor Government’s move to cut student debt by $3 billion in the upcoming budget.


The government will cap the HECS-HELP indexation rate and backdate this relief to

1 June last year.


Across Australia, and regional areas like Gippsland, this promises to ease cost of living pressures and pave the way for a brighter future for students and workers.


For example, an individual with an average HELP debt of $26,500 will see around $1,200 wiped from their debt.


Regional students have enough on their plate, trying to finish study, get a well-paid job, and stay in the region they love. Yallourn South local, 25-year-old Angela, is one of 26,000 Gippsland students and workers who will feel immediate relief.


With an undergraduate degree in Sports and Outdoor Education, Angela is currently pursuing a Masters in secondary education while working at a local school and as a casual at the local pool.


“In terms of my study fees coming out of my pay, I try not to look at it”, she said.


Angela’s experience is not unique. Many regional students find themselves in a similar predicament, juggling studies and work and cost of living pressures.


Last year HECS-HELP debt was hit by a 7.1 percent indexation spike, linked to historically high inflation. The Albanese Government will wipe that extra debt, and make sure it never happens again, by linking indexation to either the Consumer Price Index or the Wage Price Index, whichever is lower.


This relief will be backdated for all HECS-HELP, VET Student Loan, Australian Apprenticeship Support Loan and other student support loan accounts that existed on 1 June last year.


In a move that will provide further relief, the Government will also support teaching, nursing and social work students with a means-test $319 per week payment while they’re undertaking vocational placements.


To find out how much this is estimated to benefit your HELP debt, use the HELP Indexation Credit Estimator: www.education.gov.au/helpestimator


This article was published in the Gippsland Sentinel Times