Teachers in remote Australia could have their entire student debt wiped by the government

Teachers in remote Australia could have their tuition fees wiped under a new program.
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Teachers who have worked in remote Australia for at least four years could now have their entire tuition fees wiped under a new student debt reduction program announced on Thursday.

The scheme hopes to attract and keep high-quality teachers in Australia’s remote schools to address longstanding educational barriers in these areas. The average debt reduction is expected to be about $35,000.

Up to 2,000 teachers are expected to be eligible for the support this year, with 500 expected to follow in each coming year.

Who’s eligible?

Only teachers working in ‘very remote’ areas of Australia can apply for the new program. This is the strongest classification of remoteness under the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ ‘remoteness structure’.

Teachers will need to complete four years of full-time work at a ‘very remote’ school to be eligible.

It will apply to teachers in primary and secondary schools and early childhood centres, including preschools and daycare services.

Why’s it happening?

Students in remote areas face higher barriers to educational attainment, and are seen as a priority group to address education inequities in Australia.

A Federal Government report released today found “longstanding” teaching shortages in remote Australia were continuing, and encouraged stronger academic achievement targets being implemented for remote students.

Yesterday’s announcement hopes to bring high-quality teachers to remote areas.

How will it be paid?

Teachers that qualify for the program will have their student debt paid in one of two ways.

This will either be the amount of debt they owe for their initial education qualification as a teacher, at a maximum of five years study.

It will otherwise be the student debt remaining when they begin teaching in an eligible remote location.

Whichever amount is smaller is what will be paid. This means many teachers could have their whole degree paid off for them.

The context

The program is targeted at providing support for teachers working in remote areas of Australia.

It’s done by reducing the student debt they owe the Government from their tertiary study, such as university. The average debt reduction is expected to be $35,000.

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