The Albanese Government will extend the VET FEE-HELP Student Redress scheme for 12 months, and intends to waive all indexation applied to historical vocational education student loans affected by the IT issue recently discovered by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.
We are determined to put the wellbeing of students first, which is why we have decided that all indexation related to these loans should be waived. The proposed waiver relates to approximately $1.6 million of indexation affecting approximately 6,400 students. Affected students will be contacted following the waiver of indexation.
The VET FEE-HELP Student Redress scheme was due to expire on 31 December 2022, and will now be extended for 12 months, so that students have a fair opportunity to access the scheme if required.
As the Department informed affected students in September 2022, a number of historical student loan amounts were discovered to have been unexpectedly applied to students’ ATO accounts, after they were stuck in the department’s IT system.
At my instruction, the department expeditiously conducted an initial investigation on this matter, and I am advised that every effort was made to individually notify and offer assistance to all students and providers affected by the transfer to the ATO.
I have also been advised that there are more historical student loan records to reconcile in the department’s system, and that the Department is rigorously examining this matter and no indexation will be applied to these records.
I‘m further advised that over 95 per cent of total affected debt relates to loans for study between 2017 and 2022.
My department will continue to engage directly with affected students and providers and inform them of relevant information.
An independent review into this issue is underway.
The Government's response to the full extent of this issue is still being determined.
The Albanese Government is cleaning up the Coalition’s mess, and we keep finding more of it.