Permanent residents, New Zealanders targeted in university budget revamp

Increasing university fees
The government says it expects student numbers to grow as a result of access to income-contingent loans. (Photo: The Age)

3 May 2017

Michael Koziol – The Age

From 1 January, most permanent residents and New Zealanders will no longer be eligible for subsidised places, meaning they will pay about three or four times more for their degrees, on average. To compensate, the government will now allow those groups to access the Higher Education Loan Program, meaning they can defer their fees and pay back the loan once they start earning regular income.

About 20,000 permanent residents and NZ citizens are currently enrolled in Australian universities, according to government estimates. They will be unaffected by the changes, which apply to people beginning their courses after January 1 next year.

Tim Gassin, whose Oz Kiwi group advocates for the 500,000 New Zealanders living in Australia, said the policy shift came as “a huge shock” and would saddle students with mountainous debt.

The idea it would bring in more students was “a ludicrous proposition”, Dr Gassin said. Instead, Kiwis who grew up in Australia would be inclined to study in NZ and return to Australia to work.

“Australia gets to benefit from the tax that all these people pay and will pay, but is offloading the education and training expenses on to New Zealand,” he said.

[Read the full Age article].

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