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Professor Bruce Chapman. Image: Maynooth University

Professor Bruce Chapman. Image: Maynooth University

Opening up education to the world

4 December 2018

Professor Bruce Chapman has been leading the development and discourse around income-contingent loans (ICL) for tertiary students since 1989, when he first proposed it as an alternative university payment system.

These are loans that students only pay back once they are earning income over a certain threshold (currently around $52,000 pa). The Australian government at the time implemented his model in what we call HECS – the Higher Education Contribution Scheme. Professor Chapman has since developed a global network of colleagues who are helping to shape the way other countries around the world implement tertiary education student loans.

The benefit of ICLs over traditional time-based repayment loans is that they protect graduate debtors from hardship and default because no repayments are required when people find themselves in low income situations. This in turn helps to break cycles of poverty and raises national economic growth to its full potential. Millions of Australians have already experienced this positive impact through repayments only being required when they are affordable, such as if they are still studying, if they become unemployed, take leave for child rearing or if other life circumstances result in an incapacity to repay. 

Following the introduction of HECS, Professor Chapman continued his research in the area and worked with numerous academic economists and governments, and ICLs have been adopted in New Zealand, England, Thailand, Hungary and South Korea. Currently, as a result of joint work with many others, this has resulted in active debates and legislative reform towards ICL in Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Japan and Malaysia.

This is both to help replace malfunctioning student loan systems and to put ICLs in places where they did not exist.

Throughout Professor Chapman’s work with ICLs, he has received a tremendous amount of support from both the College of Business and Economics (CBE) and the Research School of Economics, who have helped to fund the development of new econometric techniques, as well as many of the summits, conferences and trips that made it possible for his research to be widely disseminated, and ultimately applied internationally. This has led to the formation of the network, the Centre for International Student Loan Research (CISLR), based both at CBE and the University College London, involving over 25 active international higher education researchers, including Tim Higgins and Dung Doan from CBE.

As a result of their efforts, it is estimated that over 15 million students in eight different countries have benefited directly from ICLs already, and that this number will more than double soon as other countries adopt ICLs.

See here for more information:

Economics 

 

 

 

Updated:   4 December 2018 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team