“Cost of living increases are hitting graduates hard, but it is important to understand HELP repayments are not part of that,” Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said.
“CPI growth affects the overall size of a student loan and the length of time you’re paying it back. There has been considerable confusion around this.
“We know the price of everyday living is rising – energy and grocery bills are going up, mortgage and car repayments are increasing, but HELP repayments are different.
“Repayments don’t start until you earn $48,361 and they do not increase week on week.
“We’re lucky in Australia to have a funding system that has enabled millions of Australians to study at university who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. Our system is the envy of the world.
“Some of the recently proposed changes to the HELP system would cost the taxpayer up to $9 billion, taking money away from essential services all Australians rely on.
“Any changes to HELP, past or future, should be carefully assessed to ensure they do not risk the policy intent, which is to remove barriers to a university education.”