Policy Submissions

CAPA/NUS research: The problem with capping HELP loans

31 May 18

Download: Research summary – Capping HELP, What’s the problem?

Watch: Explanatory video

The Government has not given up on their proposed changes to student loans, which are now expected to be voted on in the Senate in late June. This year, CAPA has worked collaboratively with our undergraduate counterparts, the National Union of Students (NUS), in order to push back against the damaging changes to student loans which include a lowered repayment threshold and a borrowing cap.

Together with the NUS, we recently commissioned research on the impact of the borrowing cap. We found that the cap will have an impact on a large number of students who want to pursue many professional or technical careers. With 70% of domestic postgraduate students paying full fees, it is imperative to consider the impact of the proposed cap on full-fee paying students; whereas the Government’s statements have focused on the impact on the minority of students accessing subsidised degrees. We found that for six of the most popular postgraduate study pathways, that combined make up 37% of domestic postgraduate coursework enrolments, the government’s planned cap would take them close to or over the cap for three (Accounting and Banking, Law, Business Management). There are currently almost 40,000 students undertaking these study pathways, indicating that around this number of students will be impacted by the legislation in the next few years. Domestic students will not be able to choose these study pathways and careers in future unless they can afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars for tuition fees upfront.

This research was funded by the Graduate Student Association at the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia Student Guild, and the University of Melbourne Student Association. A summary of the research findings can be downloaded here, and the full paper is currently under review for publication.

A story on the research was published in the Sydney Morning Herald online, raising the profile of this important issue.

CAPA and the NUS will continue lobbying to prevent the passage of this legislation.