The WA Government is preparing to cut student loans and will introduce a new credit card option for those who need it, but will not do away with the repayment option.
In a briefing paper released this morning, the WA Government revealed it is planning to “ensure the payment of a minimum of $400 per year on a WA loan”.
Under the proposed changes, a student can apply for a new student loan with a maximum repayment of $300 and a variable monthly payment of $100.
Under the existing repayment plan, a borrower would have to repay $500 per year and then be given a choice of the payment option.
Under this new payment option, the borrower would be able to apply for any amount up to $400 a year, but only the payment options would be available.
The new payment options are the same as under the current repayment plan.
The State Government said the changes were a way of “encouraging” those who are on low incomes to apply.
“The Government has made significant efforts to increase access to affordable tertiary education and this is a positive step in the right direction,” it said.
“However, the Government’s current loan repayment options will not provide borrowers with the best option available to them.”
The State’s Education Minister, Michelle Roberts, said the Government would not do anything to “shackle” students in the way of student loans.
“Our goal is to support those who want to study in WA, but are unable to meet their own financial obligations,” she said.
Ms Roberts said the new loan payment options were “designed to enable students to make informed choices about their financial situation and are in line with the Government policies”.
“Under the current payment options, the payment amounts are not aligned with the financial situation of a student, so students are not guaranteed the highest possible repayment.”
Ms Roberts was asked whether the Government had a plan to reduce student debt.
“It is not in the budget right now, and I don’t think we will do anything until we know what the Government has done,” she replied.
“That will be something that we will look at as we work through the budget.”
Ms Jones said the government had “some ideas” for the repayment options.
“We have had a lot of discussion around that and we are certainly looking at that in detail.”
But the best way to improve student debt in WA is to have a lower-cost option that has better repayment options,” she added.
Ms Jones also announced she would introduce a “Student Loan Reset” for WA.
This would be a new, voluntary, monthly payment option for students who do not meet their loan repayments.
Students with a new debt of $30,000 or more could choose to reset their loans for a monthly payment or, alternatively, apply to have their debt paid off at an earlier date.
Ms Smith said the reset would allow the Government to help “some of the most disadvantaged students”.”
The reset is a way for students to get on their feet, get on with their lives, to be able put a little bit of their energy back into their studies, and it is something that will benefit many of the students who are affected by this policy change,” she told the ABC.
Topics:student-finance,education,state-parliament,education-policy,education—other,schools,state—of-australiaFirst posted April 23, 2020 11:58:51Contact Kate RobertsMore stories from Western Australia