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Flunking first-year students could lose university place and loan: Govt

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University students who flunk half of their first-year courses could lose financial support, under a federal government proposal to curb soaring Higher Education Loan Program debts.

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The government has its sight set on students who amass debts by over-enrolling in subjects, sometimes at multiple institutions.

Universities will have to make greater efforts to assess academic suitability for selected courses and monitor students’ ongoing progress.

“These measures will ensure students can’t take on a study load they won’t complete, leaving them without a qualification but a large debt,” Education Minister Dan Tehan said on Thursday.

“The lack of transparency of a student’s enrolment has allowed some non-genuine students to enrol and re-enrol at multiple providers at the same time.”

Under the proposal a student who fails half of their first eight subjects in a degree would lose access to a government-subsidised place and HELP loans (previously known as HECS).

However, higher education providers would have discretion if a student’s performance was affected by exceptional circumstances.

Low completion rates won’t be transferred if a student changes course.

Grattan Institute research found nearly six per cent of students failed every subject in their first year at university.

The government reportedly held $66.6 billion worth of HELP debt in 2018/19 and more than 15 per cent of that amount was not expected to be repaid.

-with AAP

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