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Guest Joanne <3

Hecs Discount Plan Proposal

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Guest Joanne <3

Discount for HECS in return for community work?
"Gillard Backs HECS Discount Plan"

| Wednesday, January 28, 2009 |

Rewarding students who do volunteer work by paying off their university debts would encourage young people to be more altruistic, Deputy PM Julia Gillard says.

But the opposition says the scheme is 'deeply flawed' and amounts to little more than middle-class welfare.

Under the proposal, first mooted at last year's 2020 Summit, students could work off their university HECS debt by joining a community corps and undertaking jobs such as delivering meals on wheels, working for youth services or helping the disabled.

The average student finishes university with a $12,000 debt, which takes about a decade to repay.

Ms Gillard says the program will harness the altruism of the younger generation.

'I think all Australians, but certainly the business sector and the welfare sector, say this has merit,' she told reporters.

'It's an idea that deserves serious consideration and so we are obviously considering it and working through it.'

The cost of managing the scheme wouldn't outweigh its benefits, Ms Gillard said.

But opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne says the community corps proposal is 'deeply flawed'.

It would only assist well-off students who live with their parents and therefore have the time to volunteer, he said.

'Struggling students ... are working in what spare time they have to pay rent while studying.'

The plan amounted to middle-class welfare, he said.

The community corps would also act as a 'disincentive' to volunteers who offer their time for free out of a genuine desire to help the community.

But Mr Pyne's main beef with the proposal is that it assumes HECS needs fixing.

'HECS is already a generous scheme recognised around the world as a model to emulate ... it doesn't need fixing,' he said.

'This idea has nothing going for it.'

However, Ms Gillard said the opposition education spokesman was the one who had nothing going for him.

Mr Pyne was the only person in Australia who thought the community corps was a bad idea, she said.

Source: http://bigpondnews.com/articles/TopStories...lan_298454.html

I think this is quite a decent idea... I certainly wouldn't mind reducing my HECS debt by helping out around the community. :)

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I know people who already do volunteer and community work which would definitely benefit them but I don't think I like the idea of community work being used as an incentive like that. Altruism isn't something that is gained from providing someone with an incentive. That said though, I wouldn't mind reducing my HECS debt by helping either but they are going to have to do a lot more if they want this to work. There's the problem of keeping track of hours and whether the person is actually devoted to doing it.

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Guest Torento <3

Government already covers my entire university fees. Why bother doing this when I need to support myself? I can`t claim student allowance because my parents have too much equity (rental properties, but they don`t even make that much money). I work to survive and don`t have the time to do community work.

May as well wait until I`m a professional worker and just pay it off then.

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Guest ZWD

I'm actually pretty supportive of this idea.

Would be able to lighten the HECs debt and also enable me to do something I've always wanted to do: some community service.

Two birds with one stone, so to speak.

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I like this scheme as well, not only does it give new graduates a taste of reality, but it also gives back to the community.

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Guest Torento <3

I'm actually pretty supportive of this idea.

Would be able to lighten the HECs debt and also enable me to do something I've always wanted to do: some community service.

Two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Or you could just do community service for the sake of giving without any praise or rewards?

Most Australian university students do have a sense of reality; seeing as we have to support our living costs ontop of costs associated with university that aren`t covered under HECS.

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Guest kandi

average of 12 grand? ....i thought it was heaps more than that. sad to hear that it takes a decade to pay off for only 12 grand. mine's quite a bit more *disheartened*

anyway i think its a good plan in theory but requires a lot to get it up and running.

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If that was the case, then your average Gen Y graduate wouldn't be generally known as a lazy worker whom expects to be in a non entry level position and a high salary. :P

---

Hehe yup, mine was around 20k. xD

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Guest Torento <3

It wasn`t that long ago that university was free, don`t forget that.

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Guest ZWD

Or you could just do community service for the sake of giving without any praise or rewards?

Most Australian university students do have a sense of reality; seeing as we have to support our living costs ontop of costs associated with university that aren`t covered under HECS.

Er..yeah but now I can do two things at once.

You don't have to have an IQ of 200 to understand that :rolleyes:

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Guest Torento <3

Er..yeah but now I can do two things at once.

You don't have to have an IQ of 200 to understand that :rolleyes:

But the whole point of community service (except those that are forced to do it due to criminal convictions) is so that you give to the community without getting anything back. So if it`s something you`ve always wanted to do, there`s nothing stopping you from doing it now.

That was my point.

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Guest kuroimisa

I'm gonna keep this short and simple - they should announce a plan like this with all their terms, conditions, eligibility and any catches BEFORE they disclose the idea to the public and gain support for something that very may well turn out either fantastic or a horrible nightmare.

I'm not going to jump to any conclusions about whether or not this will or will not work (I'm sure it'll work to an extent, just how much is the question) - I'm more concerned about eligibility and equity.

I wouldn't be able to participate in this scheme anyway - I have FAR too much uni work. The design studio expects we spend the entire weekend without eating or sleeping to work on our project. It'd be impossible for me to finish my work on time, let alone do community service. That aside though -

I think this scheme really needs to be defined clearer. Hourly pay (too high or too low poses a problem), eligibility for this scheme (undergrads? postgrads? high school students who want to have credit against their future HECS debt? already graduated people who still have HECS to be paid off and want to use this scheme to pay off HECS? what about those people who paid upfront? people with higher HECS debts? people with low income? what income level bracket? too rich = not eligible? must have a substantial debt to pay off eg I have a 35k debt vs someone with a 15k debt?) - even weirder concept - can you work extra hours and help pay off someone else's debt??? Eg. If you were in financial difficulty, had a younger sibling you'd really want to help but don't want to affect their studies, you have a special case and may have special conditions? o_O;;;

Again, not really criticising the scheme. It really has to be presented clearer before I can make a judgement on it.

If it takes 10 decades for a student to repay 12k, I don't expect any miracles that you can clear up 10 decades within a year of community service. Not saying that's what they're proposing, but it should be fairly realistic and fair.

I'll be looking forward to reading about the final proposed plan, though. It's definitely a first, and I'm curious as to what their solution ends up being.

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Guest ZWD

But the whole point of community service (except those that are forced to do it due to criminal convictions) is so that you give to the community without getting anything back. So if it`s something you`ve always wanted to do, there`s nothing stopping you from doing it now.

That was my point.

Ok.

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It wasn`t that long ago that university was free, don`t forget that.

Yeah, only 20 years ago. *yawn*

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Guest Torento <3

Yeah, only 20 years ago. *yawn*

I still think the system in place is very good compared to many other countries.

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