Monday, 11 April 2016

Australian Federal Election 2016: higher education

The Turnbull Government is expected to use this Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) report, Higher Education Loan Program: Impact On Budget, to justify major changes to higher education funding and student loans in its 3 May 2016 budget papers.

The report points to a projected increase in the cost to government of supplying HELP student loan programs (HECS, FEE, VET FEE, SA, OS).

It also notes the contribution vocational education loans (VET) make to the size of the HELP portfolio.

Federal Government VET student loans accounted for 20.1% of new HELP loans from 2010-11 to 2016-16 and The Australian reported on 23 February 2015 that; About 40 per cent of all money lent to students in vocational courses will never to be recovered, according to Grattan Institute modelling submitted to the Senate inquiry into the private vocational training sector. This compared to with 21 per cent lent to university students.

Given the blatant rorting of the VET program by dubious private ‘colleges’ it would be wise of the Turnbull Government to make fulfilling its promise to overhaul vocational student loans a priority – along with restoring funding to the states’ technical and further education sector.

Of course that is not what is likely to happen, as the PBO report will probably be used as an excuse to push ahead with the Abbott-IPA plan to turn higher education and universities into a privileged playground for the sons and daughters of Australian and international elites.

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