The Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) is a balancing act. On one hand, a student loan has to be repaid only if and when it is deemed “affordable” for the graduate to do so. On the other, the cost of zero real interest, delayed repayments, or no repayment at all is carried by the Commonwealth.
To governments this now looks expensive. A recent paper by UNSW tax experts highlights the problem. Richard Highfield and Neil Warren note that there are now over two million HELP debtors. They predict that in the next few years HELP debt will reach A$70 billion, and that by 2017-18: