I’ve spent part of my long-service leave doing a subject through Open Universities Australia. But as well as learning more about statistics, I thought I could use my enrolment to make a point.
Though lending students money for their fees on an income-contingent basis is a good idea, as I have complained before the HELP scheme is now too complex, anomaly-ridden, and expensive for taxpayers.
The particular absurdity I wanted to highlight was that if you do a subject through Open Universities Australia, there is no charge to borrow money under FEE-HELP (students at private providers and TAFEs pay a 20% surcharge). But OUA students still get a 10% bonus on any repayments they make.
I thought I would be able to would be able to take out the FEE-HELP loan, and using the bonus clear my approximately $900 in debt for about $820. I’d then write a newspaper article criticising this free money scheme and call for it to be fixed.
As it turns out, I haven’t been able to do this. Continue reading “ATO unable to HELP”