Loan fee exemptions extended, supporting 30,000 Australian students
Legislation recently passed through the Senate which will benefit around 30,000 students through the extension of FEE-HELP loan fee exemptions for a further six months.
Typically using FEE-HELP to pay for undergraduate study at a non-university higher education provider incurs a 20 per cent loan fee, however these loan fees were waived during 2020 to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on students and providers. The passing of the legislation today means the waivers will continue until 31 December 2021.
The Higher Education Support Amendment (Extending the Student Loan Fee Exemption) Bill 2021 is part of the Federal Government’s $53.6 million support package for international education providers most affected by COVID-19 border closures.
The package also includes:
- $26.1 million for an extra 5000 short course places in 2021-22 at non-university higher education providers
- $9.4 million for the Innovation Fund to help providers grow offshore and online delivery. Applications for grants are now open.
- $17.7 million to further extend the pause on fees and charges from CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students), TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency), and ASQA (Australian Skills Quality Authority) until 31 December 2021.
Federal Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said the waivers continue the Government’s support for students and Australian businesses who support local jobs.
“Due to COVID-19, students and higher education providers have been put under significant financial pressure, and this waiver will help lessen that burden,” Mr Tudge said.
“It will encourage local students to commence or continue studying with these providers for the remainder of 2021, and in doing so will support these businesses to maintain capacity and recover from the pandemic.”
Students who receive HECS‑HELP assistance and attend public universities do not pay these loan fees.
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