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Is the application of interest to historical HELP debt a breach of contract?

By Canfan 27 May 2014 26

There is a fair amount of debate going on around changes to University fee structures at the moment, including the application of an interest rate to the debt racked up through the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). During Senate Question Time last week, the Greens Higher Education spokeswoman Lee Rhiannon posed an interesting question to Minister for Human Services Marise Payne, asking whether the plan to charge interest up to 6 per cent on existing debts as well as new ones constituted a broken contract.

The ABC put it through their fact checker and came out with a result of ‘debatable’.

It made me wonder though – would I have so easily taken on HELP debt if I was aware at the time of an interest charge? In asking that I am not necessarily against it (although 6 per cent is steep and I worry that this may put those in lower socio economic backgrounds off higher education), but am concerned that they can make this change ‘just like that’.

What do you think? Is it a breach of contract, or just of faith? Or, indeed simply a sign of the times where all must pay their way?


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26 Responses to
Is the application of interest to historical HELP debt a breach of contract?
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justin heywood 1:27 pm 29 May 14

watto23 said :

See thats where the proposals are all wrong. the emphasis should be on getting people to repay their debt. It should be 2% of wages at a minimum on all income then scaling upwards like it does. Increasing charges will just lead to debts not being paid off. Surely a fix to the budget is to get the debts repaid. I have no issue, if someone dies and has a HECS debt, that is should be repaid from any estate the person has. I do object to making Uni more expensive. The only way we will compete in the world in the future is with educating ourselves.

Exactly. The focus should be on whatever gets the money repaid. All else is politics.

watto23 12:31 pm 29 May 14

See thats where the proposals are all wrong. the emphasis should be on getting people to repay their debt. It should be 2% of wages at a minimum on all income then scaling upwards like it does. Increasing charges will just lead to debts not being paid off. Surely a fix to the budget is to get the debts repaid. I have no issue, if someone dies and has a HECS debt, that is should be repaid from any estate the person has. I do object to making Uni more expensive. The only way we will compete in the world in the future is with educating ourselves.

dungfungus 10:16 am 29 May 14

chewy14 said :

dungfungus said :

I am surprised that mandatory collection of a HECS/HELP debt has not been standard procedure in the past. Our previous governments have been complaining about diminishing revenue while sitting on their hands.

I fully support what Christopher Pyne is putting forward.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/christopher-pyne-suggests-collecting-hecs-debts-from-dead-students-as-way-to-help-budget-20140528-394rx.html

I agree and it should be extended to other areas.
How about recovering pension payments from the estate of pensioners who own property when they die?

I don’t understand why it should be the taxpayers responsibility to fund windfall inheritances.

This would be a practical and justifiable way of levying a “user pays” death tax. I don’t have any problem with that and there would be no objection from the people levied.

chewy14 10:05 am 29 May 14

dungfungus said :

I am surprised that mandatory collection of a HECS/HELP debt has not been standard procedure in the past. Our previous governments have been complaining about diminishing revenue while sitting on their hands.

I fully support what Christopher Pyne is putting forward.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/christopher-pyne-suggests-collecting-hecs-debts-from-dead-students-as-way-to-help-budget-20140528-394rx.html

I agree and it should be extended to other areas.
How about recovering pension payments from the estate of pensioners who own property when they die?

I don’t understand why it should be the taxpayers responsibility to fund windfall inheritances.

dungfungus 9:08 am 29 May 14

I am surprised that mandatory collection of a HECS/HELP debt has not been standard procedure in the past. Our previous governments have been complaining about diminishing revenue while sitting on their hands.

I fully support what Christopher Pyne is putting forward.

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/christopher-pyne-suggests-collecting-hecs-debts-from-dead-students-as-way-to-help-budget-20140528-394rx.html

Az 8:26 am 29 May 14

“Better do a degree that doesn’t lead to below average wage then.”

And kiss goodbye to science degrees. Who needs all that R&D investment that pays off so handsomely?

Let’s all just buy c$%p off the Chinese and sell expensive mud.

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