Mar 28, 2006

Grayndler HECS Debt Passes $107M

Grayndler HECS Debt Passes $107M

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

28 March 2006

“University students and graduates living in Grayndler now collectively owe a staggering $107,640,942.26 in HECS debts, according to new figures from the Department of Education, Science and Training,” revealed Anthony Albanese MP, Federal Member for Grayndler.

“This gives Grayndler an unfortunate ranking in the top 20 electorates nationally with the highest HECS debt.”

“Under the Howard Government, HECS costs have gone up more than 100 per cent – that’s up to a $30,000 hike since 1996. Many students are now paying nearly $15,000 for an arts degree, $20,000 for a science degree, and $40,000 for a law degree."

He continued, “The impact of HECS debts of this magnitude must not be underestimated. HECS now means a lifetime of debt.”

“One in three people with a HECS debt will die before they can pay that debt off. Young couples often have to put off buying a house or starting a family.”

“Other people simply don’t enter university because of the enormous burden of debt they will have to shoulder. In 2005 the number of students at university dropped for only the second time in 50 years – because of HECS fee hikes.”

Mr Albanese concluded, "Universities contribute to the betterment of our nation by providing people with valuable skills, knowledge, experience and opportunities. To undermine people’s ability to access a university education by continually increasing HECS fees is clearly to our nation’s detriment.”

“A university education should be accessible to all, not just the wealthy few – but John Howard has made it patently clear he doesn’t see it that way.”