Independent Higher Education Australia (IHEA) welcomes the confirmation of the FEE-HELP loan fee exemption until 31 December 2022, with the Education Legislation Amendment (2022 Measures No. 1) Bill 2022 passing both houses of Parliament.
The extension of the FEE-HELP loan fee exemption for all of 2022 is good news for students and the independent higher education sector. The 20 per cent FEE-HELP loan fee is an unfair penalty on students studying at independent higher education institutions. That is why, as a matter of priority, IHEA worked hard for a commitment from the government to legislate the FEE-HELP loan fee exemption for this year.
Whilst welcoming the exemption, the position of IHEA remains to advocate for, as much as possible, a level playing field for students irrespective of whether they attend a public or independent provider.
The loan fee should be abolished or, at the very least, equitable across the entire higher education sector.
All Australian students studying in accredited courses with registered higher education providers should be treated equally by government. Consequently, IHEA will continue to advocate to government on behalf of the independent higher education sector.
IHEA will continue to ask the government to implement national tertiary sector reform to ensure, as much as possible, a level playing field between public and independent sector providers.
More Information on Education Legislation Amendment (2022 Measures No. 1) Bill 2022:
The final text of bill finally passed both Houses of Parliament on 23 November 2022 and was presented to the Governor-General for assent on 29 November 2022.
In addition to extending the FEE-HELP loan fee exemption to for all of 2022, the bill amends the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to amend the student identifier requirements for a person's eligibility to receive Commonwealth assistance; provide that units of study undertaken as part of an enabling course will not count towards a student's student learning entitlement; provide that domestic students undertaking a microcredential course are eligible for FEE-HELP; provide that New Zealand citizens are eligible for HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP only if they are a resident in Australia for the duration of the unit; remove the 10 per cent discount on up-front payments made by HECS-HELP students; and makes other technical amendments to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 and Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011.
IHEA Media Contact: Matthew Coote, IHEA Communications Manager (email@example.com / 0413 735 710)
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