New students starting university in 2022 will potentially lose their HECS-HELP loan assistance if they fail half of their classes.
New laws passed under the Job Ready Graduates scheme in 2020 have been enacted this year. They will begin to impact students’ ability to receive government assistance for their studies after this semester.
Under the new laws, any student who fails 50% of at least eight-degree subjects will lose funding access and have to pay future fees upfront.
Students can potentially maintain their place if they have a “justifiable reason” for failing their classes or can transfer to a different degree.
The decision has drawn the ire of student advocacy groups, with the advocacy group End Rape on Campus Australia noting that students who have been victims of sexual violence are more likely to fail at least half of the courses they take following their assault.
The National Union of Students described the scheme as “pay-to-play”, with student contributions rising significantly in the past several years.
QUT Student Guild President Oscar Davison has criticised the scheme, saying it will likely lead to a decrease in diversity in universities.
‘The Job Ready Graduates schemes creates significant barriers to education for many,’ Davison said.
‘This legislation is essentially a mechanism to prevent certain individuals from accessing higher education.
‘Nearly 90% of university students access HECS-HELP loans to study.
‘The cost of higher education is already prohibitive for many, and HECS-HELP is the only way many students, especially those from low socioeconomic backgrounds, can access higher education.
‘The Job Ready Graduates scheme allows the Government to turn to an already struggling student and say, “We do not support your learning.”’
The new Labor government has promised to establish an Australian Universities Accord to achieve lasting reform in universities and deliver accessibility, affordability, quality, and sustainability to the sector.
Glass reached out to Federal Minister for Education, Jason Clare, to clarify how this Accord will impact the Job Ready Graduates scheme but has not received a reply.
Students concerned they may be affected by the new rules should contact QUT Student Guild Academic Advocacy.
Academic Advocacy Phone:
3138 1683 (GP) | 3138 2349 (KG)