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Government Responds to Law Students’ FEE-HELP Campaign

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An increase to loan limits for postgraduate courses such as the Juris Doctor is looking unlikely, following the federal government’s response to calls for FEE-HELP reform.

With the costs of postgraduate law courses at several universities outstripping the FEE-HELP loan limit, Melbourne University Law Students’ Society has been campaigning for an increase to the $93,000 cap.

In his response to Melbourne University Law Students’ Society earlier this month, the new Minister for Higher Education pointed out that many of the postgraduate degrees that exceed the FEE-HELP limit (such as some Juris Doctor courses) could also be undertaken at the undergraduate level.

“Given the unregulated nature of tuition fees for fee paying places, the Government considers the limits placed on FEE-HELP loans to be reasonable contributions towards such courses on behalf of Australian tax payers”, Senator Kim Carr wrote.

“Many postgraduate students have already received tax payer funded subsidies for their tertiary studies by obtaining their undergraduate qualifications in CSPs, accessing HECS-HELP loans, and they continue to further receive tax payer subsidies by using FEE-HELP loans to pay for postgraduate fee paying study”, he added.

In his letter, the Minister also pointed out additional scholarships that students facing a gap between the FEE-HELP loan limit and their course may also be eligible for.

In an announcement on the MULSS website, president Patrick Easton said that the Society would be sending a response to Senator Carr’s office shortly.

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