You’re not a lender: 28% of Australians in debt with student loans
Millions of Australians are riddled with student debt, according to a new Finder study.
A nationally representative survey of 1,003 respondents found that 28% of Australians – or more than 5.4 million people – still had student loan debt.
Of those in debt, 18% have over $ 10,000, 8% have over $ 40,000 and 3% have over $ 100,000.
A whopping 2 in 3 (64%) have never had student debt, most likely due to the abolition of university fees by the Whitlam Labor government in 1974 until the mid-1980s.
Research has found that the average Australian has student debt of $ 9,390.
Kate Browne, personal finance expert at Finder, said student debt is skyrocketing and can take a toll on the mental health and financial stress of Australians.
According to the ATO, the outstanding HELP debt currently stands at $ 66 billion, almost 3 times what it was in 2011.
Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker shows that full-time students (87%) are more financially stressed than full-time workers (74%).
“It is important that students keep track of their HECS-HELP debt even after entering the labor market.
“If you develop good savings habits now, you’ll feel more in control when it comes to paying back what you owe,” Browne said.
Although HECS-HELP loans are the only interest-free loan in Australia, what many ignore is the escalation rate applied to the portion of an accumulated student debt that has gone unpaid for over 11 months.
In 2020, the indexation rate was 1.8%, which means that if you owed $ 20,000, you would be charged an additional $ 360.
“Putting a small portion of your income on voluntary repayments will result in less indexing costs, which will save you money in the long run. “
Finder’s survey found that women (32%) are on average more likely to have student debt than men (24%).
Gen Z ($ 17,250) and Gen Y ($ 16,320) have higher average student debt than Gen X ($ 6,120) and Baby Boomers ($ 930).
|How much debt do you have on student loans?|
|Less than $ 5,000||4%|
|$ 5,000 – $ 10,000||3%|
|$ 10,000 – $ 20,000||5%|
|$ 20,000 – $ 40,000||5%|
|$ 40,000 – $ 60,000||3%|
|$ 60,000 – $ 100,000||2%|
|$ 100,000 – $ 150,000||2%|
|Over $ 150,000||1%|
|I never had student debt||64%|
|I have already paid off my student debt||7%|
|I have student debt but I don’t know how much||3%|
|Source: Finder survey of 1,003 respondents, September 2021|
Need help managing your student debt? Use our savings calculator to see how much you could earn to pay off faster.