Government ramps up effort to recover student loans
FROM today, people who have benefited from Australian student loans and now live overseas will pay for them the same way as they would if they lived in Australia, the government has revealed.
Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said it was estimated that up to $30 million was lost annually due to graduates moving overseas and from today those graduates would be required to notify the Australian Taxation Office to arrange repayments.
Minister Birmingham said recouping debts under the Higher Education Loan Programme or Trade Support Loan scheme would ensure Australia's world-class, income-contingent student loans scheme was fairer and more sustainable into the future.
"The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring the future sustainability of Australia's student loans scheme and to ensuring it is fair for all Australians," Minister Birmingham said.
"Until now, people who took out a loan under the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) or a Trade Support Loan (TSL) and moved overseas were under no obligation to repay their debt as long as they remained offshore residents.
"From 2016-17, anyone who has a Higher Education Loan Programme or Trade Support Loan debt who earns above the minimum repayment threshold (currently $54,126) will be required to make repayments regardless of where they live.
"As well as making the scheme fairer and more equitable, the Government's changes will improve the sustainability of the scheme with taxpayers to benefit by $150 million over the next decade."
Minister Birmingham said it is estimated that around $20 30 million each year was lost due to graduates moving overseas and up to $800 million due to non-repayment of debts from students living overseas had been lost since the start of the student loan scheme in 1989.
All Australians with current and new HELP and TSL debt who move overseas for six months or more are required to notify the ATO via the myGov website to facilitate repayments.
For more information about HELP, go to http://www.studyassist.gov.au