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HECS-STYLE loans could be used to resuscitate the ailing international education industry and compensate poor countries for brain drain.
Professor from Australian National University’s Crawford School of Economics and Government, said most of the 180,000-odd overseas higher education students in Australia had to raise about $20,000 a year to fund their tuition.
“They’ve got to find it up front,” he said. “If they could find a way of paying it back later, depending on their future income, that would take away a major barrier.”
He said Australia had broken new ground in marketing, the use of agents, work rights and English-language and migration pathways. HECS-style loans could be another way “to keep ahead of the game”, he said.
“Having pioneered HECS and knowing how it all operates, (it) could be another way of keeping at the forefront at a time lots of other competitors want to enter that arena.”
The team will grapple with logistical questions such as the public-private mix of loans, the extent of any government subsidies, which governments would pay those subsidies, and how to ensure students would repay their loans, particularly those from countries with inefficient tax systems.
the team would also look at ways of collecting HECS-style repayments from skilled migrants who’d arrived in Australia with qualifications obtained overseas.