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Student HECS-HELP debt statistics

14% of Australians don’t think they’ll ever be able to repay their student debt.

Quick summary

  • The average HECS debt was $24,771 in the 2021–2022 fiscal year, according to ATO figures, up from $23,280 in 2019–20.
  • The 2023 HELP debt indexation of 7.1% is the highest on record in over a decade, up from 3.9% in 2022 and 0.6% in 2021.
  • HELP debt repayments will average $1,760 a year when indexation comes into effect on 1 June 2023.
  • Australians in their 20s will be hit the hardest with an average annual repayment increase of $2,069.
  • The number of people with debts above $50K is close to 10% of all debtors (2020–21).

Student loans Australia

  • The average HECS debt was $24,771 in the 2021–2022 fiscal year. This is up from $23,280 in 2019–20, according to ATO figures.
  • There were 2.9 million people with outstanding HECS-HELP debt in 2020–21.
  • The total amount of outstanding student debt hit $68.7 billion in 2020–21, up from $66.4 billion in 2019–20.
  • The number of people with debts above $50K is close to 10% of all debtors (2020–21) and the highest student debt amount held by 1 person is over $700K.
  • The government reduced the HELP loan limit to $113,028 for the majority of students. Those studying veterinary science, medicine, dentistry or other eligible courses have a limit of $162,336.
  • 68% of those with HELP debt are concerned about their ability to pay their student debt.
  • Shockingly, 14% don't think they'll ever pay their student HELP debt off.

HECS indexation

  • Student HELP debt is technically an "interest-free loan" but it's indexed to keep up with inflation.
  • The indexation rate will go up to 7.1% in June 2023, meaning 3 million Australians will be hit with higher payments. Once indexation comes into effect HELP debt repayments will average $1,760 a year.
  • Graduates in their 20s, who have a median debt of $29,138, will be hit the hardest, with an average increase of $2,069.
  • The 2023 HELP debt indexation is the highest on record in a decade, up from 3.9% in 2022 and 0.6% in 2021.
  • The 7.1% indexation will add about 6 months to the average student's repayment time, according to ANU analysis.
  • Inflation means students faced paying off a combined $1.9 billion of extra debt in 2022, with that figure set to increase by another $1.6 billion in 2023.

Analysis based on potential indexation rate figures

Indexation rateIndexation applied to average HELP debt ($24,771)Indexation applied to $30,000 HELP debtIndexation applied to $40,000 HELP debtIndexation applied to $50,000 HELP debt
3.90%$966$1,170$1,560$1,950
7%$1,734$2,100$2,800$3,500
7.20%$1,784$2,160$2,880$3,600
7.50%$1,858$2,250$3,000$3,750

Source: Finder's analysis. Figures rounded to the nearest dollar

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