Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs the Hon Dr David Kemp MP)
Outline and financial impact
The Higher Education Funding Act 1988 (HEFA) makes provision for grants of financial assistance to higher education institutions and other bodies for higher education purposes, establishes the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) and the Open Learning Deferred Payment Scheme (OLDPS) and makes provision for the repayment of monies lent by the Commonwealth to students under those schemes.
The Bill amends the Higher Education Funding Act 1988 to:
- vary the maximum amount of financial assistance payable to higher education institutions in 2001 under section 17 to reflect revised estimates of planned expenditure under the Higher Education Workplace Reform Programme;
- vary the maximum amount of financial assistance payable to higher education institutions in 2002 and 2003 under section 20 to reflect revised estimates of the Commonwealths overall superannuation liability as a result of the Beneficiary Choice Programme in Victoria;
- create an income contingent loans scheme for fee-paying postgraduate coursework students, called the Post-graduate education loan scheme;
- introduce a cap on the total amount of indebtedness that an individual is able to accrue in aggregate under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme, the Open Learning Deferred Payment Scheme and the proposed Post-graduate education loan scheme; and
- allow higher education institutions to accept electronic communications, including an electronic signature, consistent with the requirements of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999, and to elect to communicate electronically with students without seeking students agreement, provided students have access to the appropriate technology and services.
The Bill provides for additional funding of $39.4 million for the Higher Education Workplace Reform Programme and Commonwealth superannuation contributions under the Higher Education Funding Act 1988 .