Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Media release: $46 million in student debt avoided

8 February 2018

The Hon Michael Keenan MP

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

The Australian Government has saved more than $46 million by helping students ensure their study details are up to date.

During the past 18 months, randomly selected students have been sent letters asking them to confirm their study load.

These letters have been sent at key times like HECS-HELP census cut-off dates, enrolment periods, and semester changes.

If students start out being paid for a full-time study load, then drop back to part time study, they may be overpaid if they don’t let the Department of Human Services know about the change.

There have been 200,000 reviews completed and by July 2019 we expect students will be helped to avoid a further $49 million of debt.

The reviews are an extra support, demonstrating the Government’s ongoing commitment to help students avoid a debt and protect the integrity of the welfare system.

These measures mean the department has the right information to make sure students understand their obligations.

Students can confirm or update their details using the department’s online services through myGov or Centrelink Express Plus mobile app.

When it comes to debts, prevention is always better than a cure, and by updating their details, students can avoid unnecessary financial headaches.

The reviews are a three-year initiative and are part of the Strengthening the Integrity of Welfare Payments 2015-16 budget measure.

It’s very important students – and anyone receiving a welfare payment – keep their details updated with the department, whether they receive a letter or not.

Page last updated: 27 March 2018