Revised Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP)
Schedule 3 - Removal of the up-front payment discount
Currently students can make a full up-front payment by paying 90 per cent of the student contribution amount for all of their units in a course of study with the same census date and receive a 10 per cent discount for that payment. Students may also pay part of their student contribution up-front and receive a 10 per cent discount for any payments totalling $500 or more for units in a course of study with the same census date. The amount of the discount is paid by the Government to the student's higher education provider.
Schedule 3 implements a savings measure included in the 2013-14 Budget by amending the HESA to create a single set of payment arrangements for HECS-HELP that do not allow for an up-front payment discount.
The removal of the HECS-HELP up-front payment discount would take effect from 1 January 2017.
Items 1, 2, 4 and 5 will respectively repeal section 36-50, paragraph 90-1(f), subsection 93-15(3) and sections 96-1, 96-5 and 96-10 and insert a new paragraph 90-1(f) and a new section 96-1. The collective effect of these provisions is to remove the upfront discount of 10 per cent for students enrolled in Commonwealth-supported places who pay their student contributions upfront to a higher education provider.
Item 10 is an application provision which makes clear the circumstances in which the amendments made by Schedule 3 apply. The amendments in respect of an up-front payment only apply in relation to a unit of study that has a census date on or after 1 January 2017.
Item 10 ensures that a person making an upfront payment for his or her student contribution amount for a unit of study with a census date before 1 January 2017 would still be entitled to the 10 per cent discount, regardless of when the payment is made.
However, if a person were to make an upfront payment on or before 31 December 2016 for a unit of study to be undertaken in the following academic year (i.e. the unit's census date would occur on or after 1 January 2017), the person would not be eligible for the upfront payment discount.
Items 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9 make technical amendments for the purposes of Items 1, 2, 4 and 5.