Protesting studentsChristopher Pyne has compared banks recouping their outstanding mortgage debts from the estates of a deceased homeowners to unpaid HECS Debts dying with their student holders.

It has been estimated that by so collecting such debts the government stands to gain $2.8 billion over the next three years (Grattan Institute).

Amid an already seething student response to the budget Mr Abbott moved quickly to hose down the speculation. ‘The government is not going to change the existing rules, and the existing rules in respect of university debt … is that they cease on decease,’ he told ABC radio.

The majority of students studying in Australia today are under the age of 40. And so it would seem their chances of dying before repaying their debts is neglible. However, new modelling by Curtain University’s National Centre for Student Equity has shown that with fee deregulation the compound interest charged on student loans will extend the life of that loan significantly; making the question of pursuing these debts beyond the grave a real and worthwhile concern.

Their modelling predicted: A student graduating with a $50,000 HECS-HELP debt would need to earn on average $80,000 a year to repay it by the time they are 70. Clearly not all graduates will make such a salary; meaning the debt, as it stands now, dies with them.

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