House of Representatives

Higher Education Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2002

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, Science and Training the Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MP)

HIGHER EDUCATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (NO. 1) 2002

OUTLINE

The Higher Education Funding Act 1998 (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), the Open Learning Deferred Payment Scheme (OLDPS) and the Post-graduate Education Loan Scheme (PELS) and makes provision for the repayment of monies lent by the Commonwealth to students under those schemes.

The Bill amends the HEFA to:

·
create a HECS-style interest-free loans scheme for overseas trained professionals to undertake a course of study to enable them to meet formal recognition requirements for their professions in Australia to be called the Bridging for Overseas-trained Professionals Loan Scheme (BOTP Loan Scheme). Participants repay their loan through the taxation system once their income reaches the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment.

To be eligible for the new scheme applicants will require an assessment statement from the relevant gazetted assessing authority which will specify the nature of the additional training that is required.

It is the Governments intention that the new BOTP Loan Scheme will commence on 1 July 2002. The Bill provides transitional arrangements for participants who started their bridging course in first semester 2002.

FINANCIAL IMPACT

The BOTP Loan Scheme is estimated to be Budget neutral.

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1 - Short title

Provides for the Act to be cited as the Higher Education Legislation Amendment Act (No. 1) 2002 .

Clause 2 - Commencement

Provides for the Act to commence on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

Provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule and that any other item in a Schedule concerned to this Act has effect according to its terms.


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