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Monday, 11 November 2002
Page: 6028


Senator McLucas asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education, Science and Training, upon notice, on 9 September 2002:

With reference to Table 1, page 7, of the discussion paper on university finances, Setting Firm Foundations, which lists the distribution of Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) debts—Can the following information be provided, in the same format as Table 1: The distribution of HECS debts and the average HECS debt of: (a) all HECS debtors who have not made any repayments and who first incurred a HECS debt in or prior to 1999; (b) graduates who have not made any repayments and who first incurred a HECS debt in or prior to 1999; (c) all HECS debtors who have not made any repayments; (d) graduates who have not made any repayments; (e) all HECS debtors who first incurred a HECS debt between 1997 and 1999 and who have not made any repayments; and (f) graduates who first incurred a HECS debt between 1997 and 1999 and who have not made any repayments.


Senator Alston (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) —The Minister for Education, Science and Training has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) administers HECS repayments. The HECS management information system used by the ATO for this purpose is not designed to generate all of the data requested by the honourable member. The ATO data system can only identify HECS debtors as a single group. It cannot distinguish between graduates with a HECS debt and current students with a HECS debt. Thus, only responses to parts (a), (c), and (e) of the honourable member's question can be provided.

As requested by the honourable member, the data has been presented in the same format as the data in Table 1 of the issues paper Setting Firm Foundations: Financing Australian Higher Education (DEST, July 2002) which shows the distribution of HECS debts by level of debt, as per the table below.

Range of loan balances

(a) Number of HECS debtors who have not made any repayments and who first incurred a HECS debt in or prior to 1999

(c) Total number of HECS debtors who have not made any repayments

(e) Number of HECS debtors who first incurred a HECS debt between 1997 and 1999 and who have not made any repayments

$1,000 and under

16,019

28,515

3,917

$1,000.01 to $2,000

22,219

71,236

6,011

$2,000.01 to $4,000

39,440

108,499

12,462

$4,000.01 to $6,000

32,058

72,902

11,541

$6,000.01 to $8,000

28,683

72,309

10,829

$8,000.01 to $10,000

40,259

64,123

12,317

$10,000.01 to $12,000

48,088

62,409

21,229

$12,000.01 to $14,000

41,874

57,601

23,172

$14,000.01 to $16,000

38,621

40,057

25,787

$16,000.01 to $18,000

28,408

28,307

20,524

$18,000.01 to $20,000

19,559

19,496

14,884

$20,000.01 to $30,000

29,046

28,875

22,520

$30,000.01 to $40,000

1,657

1,648

873

$40,000.01 to $50,000

50

50

6

Over $50,000

4

4

0

Total debtors

385,985

656,031

186,072