I had a thought recently.
Public university used to be free in Australia. Now it is not. I came out of uni owing 20k to the government- not a lot compared with many other countries, but still, a fair bit.
Now, I am repaying that money now I have crossed a certain earning threshold. It is automatically deducted from my pay.
But I ask you this:
Given that we have progressive taxation in Australia- the tax rate on the highest bracket is quite high- and that having a degree adds a lot to your earning potential over your lifetime, is the HECS repayment system double-dipping.
I mean, we are creating citizens who earn more, and consequently will pay a higher rate of tax. But then, on top of that, we are making their tax rate even higher (up to an additional 8%) in order to repay the loans.
In a strange way, are we not paying for the degree twice? If the institutions weren’t public, it would make more sense…
I know, I know, it’s a fragmented, stupid thought. And, really, I think 20k for an undergraduate degree is pretty damn good (though the 14k for my masters is going to suck). But still, it’s like creating thieves then punishing them.