Independent Higher Education Australia (IHEA) welcomes the Australian Parliament’s passage of the Education Legislation Amendment Bill today enacting a temporary exemption for students from the unfair 25% FEE-HELP Loan Fee.
The ‘Loan Fee’ is a tax on students who choose a course from an independent higher education provider to pursue their educational and career goals.
The Loan Tax is a tax on choice which discourages students from pursuing their goals with Australia’s high-quality independent providers. The temporary exemption this legislation implements recognises the negative impacts of the tax on students seeking to re-skill during the economic recession.
Abolition of the Loan Tax has been a central reform priority for IHEA and the tertiary sector for many years. In 2018 IHEA commissioned independent research that found that the Loan Fee contributes a meagre $6million in annual revenue to government, but shackles students with a mountain of long-term debt.
IHEA’s Students First campaign platform released at the 2019 Federal Election advocates total abolition of the Loan Tax and we welcome the Government’s progress towards this, but there remains an urgent need to implement ongoing equity across the sector though abolition of the Tax.
The Loan Tax is an ongoing disincentive to the reskilling and upskilling required for the nation’s economic recovery. IHEA will continue to advocate for permanent abolition of the Tax to unlock productivity and combat national skills shortages. Abolition of the Loan Tax is the investment in higher education equity that the Australian economy needs right now.
All comment attributable to Simon Finn, CEO, IHEA
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