Debt and placement support for students

Student on calculator looking at bill | Newsreel
Student debt relief and a prac payment scheme will ease cost-of-living pressures. | Photo: Tero Vesalainen (iStock)

Students have received cost-of-living support through two recent Federal Government announcements on debt and “prac” placements.

On the weekend it was announced the student loan system would be indexed at a lower rate in response to surging inflation, meaning a student with an average HELP debt of $26,500 would be $1200 better off.

At the same time, the Federal Government put in place a Commonwealth Prac Payment to support students undertaking mandatory workplace placements.

This new payment will provide around 68,000 eligible students and over 5000 VET students with $319.50 per week during placement periods.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the student loan scheme adjustment would remove around $3 billion of student debt.

He said in response to the Australian Universities Accord, the Government would cap the HELP indexation rate at the lower of either the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Wage Price Index (WPI), backdated to June 1, 2023.

It will apply to all HELP, VET Student Loan, Australian Apprenticeship Support Loan and other student support loan accounts.

“This will benefit all Australians with a HELP debt, fixing the issue of last year’s spike in the CPI indexation rate of 7.1 per cent and preventing growth in debt from outpacing wages in the future,” Prime Minister Albanese said.

The 2023 indexation rate based on WPI would have been 3.2 percent.

Australians with a HELP debt can find out how much this is estimated to benefit them using the HELP Indexation Credit Estimator.

The Commonwealth Prac Payment will be available to Australians studying to be a teacher, a nurse, a midwife or a social worker.

Benchmarked to the single Austudy per week rate, the payment will be means-tested and available from July 1, 2025 and will be in addition to any income support a student may also receive.