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Explainer: Commission of Audit for Uni Kids

Alex McKinnon kindly explains what the hell is going on.

Illustration by Mikaela Bartels.
Illustration by Mikaela Bartels.
Illustration by Mikaela Bartels.

Hey kids! The government’s making some exciting new changes to how you pay for your degree. I’m going to take you through what you need to know, and how you can make these changes work best for you.

First up: HELP. At the moment you start paying back your HELP debt when your income is more than $51,309. The government-appointed Commission of Audit has decided that’s much too high, and recommended that students should have to start paying it back when they earn the minimum wage: about $622 a week, or $32,000 a year. Unless the government also adopts the Commission’s recommendations to cut the minimum wage over the next ten years to $488.90 a week, or $24,445 a year. So you can start paying back your HECS debt literally twice as fast! Hashtag efficiency for all you crazy Twitter fans out there lol!!!

“But wait! That’s not much money! How am I going to pay my HELP and afford to live?” I hear some of you complain like a bunch of absolute babies or something. Let me allay your fears. First off, shut up. Secondly, $24,445 is heaps of money. Do you know how many Freddo Frogs you could buy with 24 grand? Loads, I reckon. Tighten your belt a bit, mate. Stop buying so many Freddo Frogs. They’re not even good for you.

Anyway, lots of you don’t have to worry about HELP at all because if you’re doing Law, Economics or Commerce, you won’t be able to get it anymore. Eight of Australia’s biggest universities, including Sydney, are pushing to remove Commonwealth-supported places for those degrees and charge full fees upfront instead. So if you want to do an undergrad Law degree over four years, you’ll have to pay about $15,000 upfront every year before you start. Boom. No more
HECS debt.

“But I don’t have that kind of money!” you whine. “How can I ever get a good job if I can’t afford to get a degree in the first place?” Wow, you just won’t shut up, will you? Let me call the waaahmbulance, seriously. If Dad can’t splash out because the dickheads at ICAC are tapping his phone again, this is the perfect opportunity for you to become a forward-thinking, cutting-edge entrepreneur in the new synergized 21st-century digital economy. Here are some handy ideas for how you can make a little extra bread:

  1. Write, direct and star in a top-rating buddy-cop drama set in ‘80s Miami starring a maverick renegade PI who doesn’t play by the rules and his sidekick, a sassy Pomeranian who never knows when to quit. Call it K985, only the ‘K’ is stylised so it’s also a 1.
  2. Dress up like a hippie, bus driver or some other form of povvo and dance at Liberal Party fundraisers while Christopher Pyne throws coins at you really hard.
  3. Export tulips to Holland. The Dutch are fucking nuts for tulips.
  4. Honestly, if you can’t pay for your degree using the above tips you don’t deserve a university degree. Leave the thinking to the people of quality, you pleb.