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From 2019, students are repaying their HELP debts once their income reaches $45,000 per year, which is down from a previous threshold of $55,874.
“A reduction in the repayment threshold essentially equates to a wage cut upon finding employment,” said Hana Arai, Curtin Guild Vice President – Education.
“This has a significant impact on already low-income workers who are struggling to enter the housing market, plan for their future, and maintain a reasonable standard of living for themselves and their families,” she said.
In 1988, the repayment threshold was set at 85.8% of the average income while today the threshold is only 71.7% of the average Australian wage. An NUS survey also reported that over 65% of students believed that they would not be able to afford to buy a house in the next 15 years.
“We know that students are doing it tough before they graduate and the lower repayment threshold puts them at a significant disadvantage in a job market where full-time work is hard to come by and insecure or casual work is becoming the norm in society,” said Ms Arai.
The Guild’s “We Will Not Be Left Behind” campaign demands that the political parties in this election respond to student demand for education policies that help - not hurt students, in repaying their debts once they graduate. We are demanding a reinstatement of the previous $55,874 threshold with continued increases over time as the cost of living continues to rise.
---- NUS suggestion of the reinstatement of $55,874 threshold (NUS Pre-Budget Submission 2019).