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HECS debt stopping Aussies from buying home, getting married

Aussie university graduates have an average HECS-HELP debt of $22,636.

HECS university debt
Growing university HECS-HELP debt is negatively impacting young Aussies for decades. (Source: Getty)

University debts are impacting Aussies long after they graduate, with major consequences for some.

New research by Futurity Investment Group found HECS-HELP debt is stopping Aussies from realising big life events, including buying a home, getting married and starting a family.

Three in five (59 per cent) of the more than 1,000 Aussies surveyed said their university debt impacted their ability to purchase a home, an increase of 9 per cent in the last three years.

One in three (35 per cent) said their HECS-HELP debt had a “moderate to very large” impact on their ability to start a family, while 31 per cent said it impacted their ability to get married.

The average Aussie has a HECS-HELP debt of $22,636, up 10 per cent from the last three years. Most people (68 per cent) still have their university debts in their thirties, while half (51 per cent) are still paying it off in their forties.

Futurity Investment Group executive Kate Hill said university debt was stopping Aussies from reaching their full potential.

“The spiralling cost of living and rising interest rates coupled with university debt means it could be impossible for many university educated Australians to realise their dream of home ownership,” Hill said.

“The average time to repay HECS-HELP debt is now more than nine years, while the percentage of university educated Australians worried about their financial situation has more than doubled in the past three years to 56 per cent.”

Women have more debt, lower income

Female university graduates have bigger HECS-HELP debts but earn lower salaries than males, according to the research.

It found 70 per cent of male graduates earned more than $60,000, compared to 59 per cent of female graduates. Men were also more likely (35 per cent) to be earning more than $100,000, compared to their female counterparts (21 per cent).

Of the three million Aussies with HECS-HELP debt, the majority are female (60 per cent) and they hold 58 per cent of the total debt.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of females had a HECS-HELP debt of between $20,000 to $50,000, while this figure was slightly lower for males (43 per cent).

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