University fee debts escalate

University and higher-education students owe $256 million in debts taken out from the federal government under a loan top-up scheme to help fund their tertiary studies, and this debt may blow out to $1.6 billion by 2007. Tertiary students can seek a $50,000 loan, tied to their income, to be repaid when they start earning $36,000. The $1.6 billion is on top of the $10 billion already owed by most students under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme.