As a former university student performing some long term budgeting and forecasting, I learned something I should probably have known already. Things are about to get much more expensive:

From 1 January 2017, the Australian Government will remove the upfront HECS-HELP discount of 10 per cent for eligible students that pay their student contributions upfront and the voluntary HELP repayment bonus of five per cent.

People who have a HELP debt and make a voluntary repayment of $500 or more towards that debt currently receive a bonus of 5 per cent. The amount of the bonus is an additional credit against the student’s outstanding HELP debt.

Regrettable, but not surprising. This flippant justification was though:

It is an amount never recovered by the Government.

Fire stations and hospitals don’t “recover” investments either; that’s the entire point of public services. Otherwise, we may as well get it over with and implement American-style student loans. Wait, don’t give them ideas.

This from a Government of ministers who had free education.