Failing university students risk losing access to HECS-HELP loans

13 August 2020

Written by: Achol Arok

A new proposal intends to ensure students avoid accumulating large amounts of debt without graduating.

University students who fail more than 50 percent of their units in a bachelor course will face losing access to government financial support in proposed changes to university loan scheme reform.

The new legislation will only allow education providers to grant an exemption to students whose academic performance was affected by illness or bereavement.

As part of its Job-Ready Graduates laws, the Federal Government says new reforms to the university loan scheme will not only ensure students are academically suited to their course but also protects students and taxpayers from the accumulation of large HECS debt.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the changes will avoid the enrolment and re-enrolment of non-genuine students who accumulate large amounts of debt ranging from $220,000 up to $660,000.

“These measures will ensure students can’t take on a study load they won’t complete, leaving them without qualification but a large debt,”  he said.

The Government said these measures will keep students academically involved and strengthen the focus on teaching students to learn the skills they need to succeed in the future.

“Our reforms will make it cheaper for students to study qualifications and get good jobs in areas like teaching, health, IT, science, engineering, and agriculture,” Tehan said.

The Government’s proposal has received major backlash online from both students and academics for putting vulnerable students at risk of losing access to education.

Molly Willmott, President of the National Union of Students, said the changes will add extra pressure on students to academically succeed.

“It is an agenda to incentivise success through the fear of punishment, which will only harm the wellbeing and success of our students,” she said.

Photo: A see of college graduates at the commencement ceremony by Good Free Photos available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.