Over three million Australians to have $3 billion in Student debt erased

Embedded within the upcoming May budget, this initiative aims to furnish substantial relief to individuals contending with student loans amidst the battle against inflation.

In a monumental shift, the Australian government has unveiled plans to slash student debt by introducing legislation aimed at recalibrating how indexation is computed.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said:

“Put simply, it’ll cut debt for more than 3 million Australians. Uni should create opportunities for you, not a lifetime of debt. We’re taking pressure off to help you get ahead.”

The proposed legislation, set to be tabled in parliament, outlines a pivotal change in the calculation of student loan increments by incorporating a new indexation methodology.

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Effective retroactively from June 1 of the previous year, this adjustment will factor in the lower of either the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Wage Price Index (WPI) for determining loan escalations.

During the preceding fiscal year, the average Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt, totaling $26,500, surged by $1881.50, or 7.1 percent, under the CPI gauge, which gauges inflation by monitoring fluctuations in a selection of consumer goods and services. Conversely, utilizing the WPI metric, which registered a mere 3.2 percent increase over the same period, would have resulted in a $848 uptick in the average HELP debt.

According to government projections, the average student loan recipient stands to witness a reduction of approximately $1,200 in outstanding balances by the fiscal year’s end.

For an individual grappling with a $100,000 student loan burden, this translates to an alleviation of nearly $4,500 from their indebtedness.

Image: Estimated indexation credit for HELP debtors (Source: Education Minister Media Release)

The scope of this transformative measure extends to all accounts under the HELP, VET Student Loan, Australian Apprenticeship Support Loan, and other student support loan categories that were in existence as of June 1 of the prior year.

Embedded within the upcoming May budget, this initiative aims to furnish substantial relief to individuals contending with student loans amidst the battle against inflation.

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Minister for Education, Jason Clare, affirmed,

“This will wipe out around $3 billion in student debt from more than three million Australians. The Universities Accord recommended indexing HELP loans to whatever is lower out of CPI and WPI. We are doing this, and going further. We will backdate this reform to last year. This will wipe out what happened last year and make sure it never happens again.”

Image: Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor (Source: X)

Echoing Minister Clare’s sentiments, Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor emphasized the government’s commitment to mitigating the cost of living expenses and dismantling financial impediments to education and training.

Minister O’Connor asserted:

“This continues our work to ease cost of living pressures and reduce and remove financial barriers to education and training. VET Student Loans and Apprenticeship Support Loans support many Australians to get the skills they need for secure and rewarding careers, and these changes make sure that help is provided on a fairer basis. By backdating this reform to last year, we’re making sure that those with student loans affected by last year’s jump in indexation get this important cost-of-living relief.”

This reform will encompass all student debts subject to indexation in the year 2023.

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