Australian Education Minister Christopher Pyne has indicated he would consider collecting outstanding university debt from deceased estates in an interview with the Australian Financial Review.
“If an elderly person passes away with a HECS debt, they wouldn’t be able to say to the bank, we’re not paying back our mortgage, yet they are at the moment entitled to not pay back their HECS debt,” Pyne said.
The idea was put forward by the Grattan Institute think tank. Its policy specialist Andrew Norton said the move could see the government raise an extra $800 million a year.
Pyne said he had “no ideological opposition” to the proposal but that it was not an immediate priority and would be considered “down the track”.
The Grattan Institute said some fees are never repaid as people move overseas or remain in employment that pays a salary below the threshold.
The education minister is already facing pressure from student groups and the opposition over changes to higher education included in the budget, including a removal of fee caps.
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