[ExI] the formerly rich and their larvae...

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Mon Feb 11 11:45:57 UTC 2008

On 11/02/2008, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:

> Oh?  Do explain, Amara.  In other countries, do not students need to borrow
> money to pay their tuition?

In Australia it used to be that tertiary education was completely free
(there wasn't anywhere you could pay for it even if you wanted to),
but since 1989 students accumulate a "HECS" debt which they have to
pay off gradually through the tax system once they start earning
enough money. As I recall, one argument in favour of this scheme at
the time were that as graduates earn more money than non-graduates,
they should contribute more to the public purse; a sort of additional
progressive tax. A common counterargument was that in fact it was a
regressive tax since wealthy students (or their families) could pay up
front while poorer students might be dissuaded from studying at all if
cost was already a consideration.

Even with HECS, tertiary education is heavily subsidised. Also,
students are eligible for a means tested living allowance (the
student's means if they are over 25, the family's means if they are
under 25) which amounts to around US$8,000/yr. This happens to be in
most cases around the same as the accumulating HECS debt.

Stathis Papaioannou

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