The Federal Government has announced it will allow university students who fail more than 50% of their subjects to still access a student loan.
It comes as a report released today on Australian universities found the rule “disproportionately disadvantages” students from the regions and from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
The 50% pass rule:
The 50% pass rule was introduced by the Morrison Government in 2020 and came into effect in 2022.
It means that students who fail over 50% of their studies aren’t eligible for student loan assistance, such as HECS (now known as HECS-HELP).
It forces these students to pay upfront.
The announcement comes as the Government is today releasing the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report, which is the first broad review of Australia’s higher education system since 2008.
The report made a list of recommendations for the Government to improve the university system, which included axing the 50% pass rule.
Another recommendation is that all First Nations students be eligible for a funded place at university.
The Government has agreed to extend funding for all First Nations students wishing to be enrolled in eligible courses. This is previously only offered in regional and rural areas.
In an address to the National Press Club today, Federal Education Minister Jason Clare will say the “only way” to meet future skills challenges is to get more students into university.
“If we don’t [increase student numbers], we won’t have the necessary skills and the economic firepower we need to make this country everything it can be.”