House of Representatives

Higher Education Legislation Amendment (2006 Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2006

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Honourable Julie Bishop MP)

Schedule 4-Rounding in calculation of HELP debts

Higher Education Support Act 2003

Division 140 prescribes how accumulated HELP debts are worked out while subdivision 140-B deals with former accumulated HELP debts and section 140-5 sets out rules for calculating a person's former accumulated HELP debt .

Item 1 Subsection 140-5(1) (method statement, step 2)

Repeals step 2 of the method statement in subsection 140-5(1) and substitutes new steps 2, 2A and 2B.

Proposed new step 2 has the effect of providing that, as part of calculating a person's former accumulated HELP debt, one takes the HELP debts (if any) that the person incurred during the last 6 months of the immediately preceding financial year and groups them according to whether the debts are in relation to:

·
units undertaken with a higher education provider that formed part of one particular course of study with that provider; or
·
units undertaken with a higher education provider that formed part of one particular course of study with another provider; or
·
units that formed part of one particular bridging course for overseas-trained professionals; or
·
units access to which was provided by Open Universities Australia; or
·
OS-HELP assistance, the entitlement to which relates to the person's enrolment in an undergraduate course of study with one particular higher education provider.

It should be noted that there will be more than one group of debts under dot point 1 if the person incurred debts in relation to more than one course of study with a provider and that there could be more than one group of debts under dot points 2, 3 or 5.

Proposed new step 2A has the effect of providing that one works out the total for each group of debts and if the total for a particular group is an amount consisting of a number of whole dollars and a number of cents, then the total for that group is taken to be the number of whole dollars. If the total for a group is an amount of less than one dollar, the total for the group is taken to be zero.

Proposed new step 2B has the effect of providing that, if there is more than one group of debts for the person, the totals for all of the groups are added together.

Item 2 Subsection 140-5(1) (method statement, step 3)

Amends step 3 of the method statement in subsection 140-5(1) to reflect the addition of steps 2A and 2B by item 1.

Item 3 Subsection 140-25(1) (definition of HELP debts incurred)

Subdivision 140-C deals with accumulated HELP debts and section 140-25 sets out rules for calculating a person's accumulated HELP debt for a financial year. Item 3 repeals the definition of HELP debts incurred in subsection 140-25(1) and inserts a new definition to provide that the term means the amount worked out using the method statement in subsection 140-25(1A) (inserted by item 4).

Item 4 After subsection 140-25(1)

Inserts a new subsection 140-25(1A) which provides a method statement to calculate HELP debts incurred for the purposes of subsection 140-25(1).

Proposed new step 1 has the effect of providing that, as part of calculating a person's HELP debts incurred , one takes the HELP debts (if any) that the person incurred during the first 6 months of the financial year and groups them according to whether the debts are in relation to:

·
units undertaken with a higher education provider that formed part of one particular course of study with that provider; or
·
units undertaken with a higher education provider that formed part of one particular course of study with another provider; or
·
units that formed part of one particular bridging course for overseas-trained professionals; or
·
units access to which was provided by Open Universities Australia; or
·
OS-HELP assistance, the entitlement to which relates to the person's enrolment in an undergraduate course of study with one particular higher education provider.

It should be noted that there will be more than one group of debts under dot point 1 if the person incurred debts in relation to more than one course of study with a provider and that there could be more than one group of debts under dot points 2, 3 or 5.

Proposed new step 2 has the effect of providing that, as part of calculating a person's HELP debts incurred , one works out the total for each group of debts and they are rounded down to the nearest dollar. If the total for a group is an amount of less than one dollar, the total for the group is taken to be zero.

Proposed new step 3 has the effect of providing that if there is more than one group of debts for the person, the totals for all of the groups are added together.

Item 5 Application of amendments

Provides that the amendments made by Schedule 4 apply to the calculation of HELP debts incurred on or after 1 January 2005.


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