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.