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An Analysis of FEE-HELP in the Vocational Education and Training Sector

  • Bruce Chapman
  • Mark Rodrigues
  • Chris Ryan

The public vocational education and training (VET) system is now one of the few areas in Australia’s tertiary education system where students are required to pay up-front fees without access to loan assistance. These arrangements may lead to sub-optimal educational outcomes to the extent that prospective students reject a VET education on the basis of short-term financial constraints. In this paper we analyse some of the important issues related to the adoption of FEE-HELP (a 2005 Federal Government financial instrument based on the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS)). It is argued that income contingent loans of this kind are associated with the advantages of both default-protection and consumption smoothing. Using data from the first three waves of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, we examine various empirical issues associated with the adoption of FEE-HELP in VET, including the extent of private salary returns to VET qualifications. As well, we explore issues related to the public subsidies inherent in the adoption of FEE-HELP in VET, and illustrate the time periods involved in loan repayments for various assumptions concerning the size of the charge and the future income of VET graduates. Administrative issues are considered, as are the implications for the Commonwealth Government with respect to potential subsidies associated with the design parameters.

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File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP570.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 570.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:570
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  1. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  2. Orley Ashenfelter & Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek, 2000. "A Review of Estimates of the Schooling/Earnings Relationship, with Tests for Publication Bias," NBER Working Papers 7457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Moshe Buchinsky, 1998. "Recent Advances in Quantile Regression Models: A Practical Guideline for Empirical Research," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(1), pages 88-126.
  4. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, June.
  5. Buly A Cardak & Chris Ryan, 2006. "Why are high ability individuals from poor backgrounds under-represented at university?," Working Papers 2006.04, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  6. Bruce Chapman & Chris Ryan, 2002. "Income-Contingent Financing of Student Charges for Higher Education: Assessing the Australian Innovation," CEPR Discussion Papers 449, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  7. Griliches, Zvi & Mason, William M, 1972. "Education, Income, and Ability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages S74-S103, Part II, .
  8. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," NBER Working Papers 3572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bruce Chapman & Chris Ryan, 2003. "The Access Implications of Income Contingent Charges for Higher Education: Lessons from Australia," CEPR Discussion Papers 463, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  10. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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