On 1 June this year, student loan debts (HECS-HELP etc.) increased by 7.1%. This is because student loans are indexed to rise with inflation, and inflation rates have been soaring for the past year. Many politicians and advocacy groups believe this increase is deeply unfair to current students and university graduates alike.

Public Universities Australia (PUA), an advocacy group, have written an open letter to the Federal Minister for Education. The letter highlights how many graduates who have been paying off their loans now have significantly more debt than when they graduated. It also notes that many of the politicians who support indexation attended university between 1974–1988, when university was free for all Australian citizens.

PUA recommends that the government could have delayed this year’s student loan indexation, waiting until the release of the Universities Accord report (and any decisions about the future of the HELP scheme) to make a decision on indexation. SUPRA agrees that this year’s large increase in student debt is unfair, and we are very worried about how this will affect students already struggling with astronomical costs of living and a housing crisis. We fully support the open letter written by PUA.