Independent MPs are pushing for HECS debt reform.

MPs have voiced their concerns over the escalating financial burden imposed on students through the Higher Education Loans Program (HECS), highlighting the growing anxiety among young Australians.

‘Teal’ independent MP Monique Ryan has noted the alarming rate at which student debts are accruing due to indexation.

“If you are an average Australian now finishing a degree and earning around $60,000 a year and have an average-size HECS debt, it increased last year by $1700 because indexation was higher than the amount you paid off,” she says. 

“Young Australians are falling behind, and they are drowning in debt.”

The situation is exacerbated by significant fee increases in disciplines such as law, business, and arts, further compounding the financial strain on students. 

Dr Ryan has also raised concerns over the impact of student debt on young people's ability to secure home loans, amidst a broader cost-of-living crisis.

In response to these challenges, Dr Ryan and fellow independent MP Zoe Daniel have thrown their support behind the universities accord's recommendations, which suggest basing indexation on the consumer price index or the wage price index. 

They also advocate for a review of the indexation calculation method to ensure fairness.

A spokesman for Education Minister Jason Clare says that the government is considering the universities accord's recommendations and plans to respond shortly.

Additionally, experts have proposed a cap on indexation at a maximum of 4 per cent, arguing that it would provide a fairer approach for students during inflationary periods.

A petition initiated by Dr Ryan highlighting the issue has garnered close to 120,000 signatures, indicating widespread concern among the public.