Teachers, including early childhood teachers, who have completed four years working in very remote Australia can apply from today to receive a cut to their HELP debt.
The average debt reduction for eligible teachers is expected to be around $35,000.
It is expected to help up to 2,000 teachers this year, and 500 each year after that.
The Albanese Government is committed to supporting teachers and ensuring schools and centre-based day care services in very remote Australia can attract and retain high-quality teachers.
To be eligible, teachers must complete four years of full-time teaching in a very remote location at a primary or secondary school, centre-based day care service, or preschool.
Very remote areas that qualify for this program are determined using the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Remoteness Structure.
Eligible teachers will have their HELP debt cut by either the amount of debt incurred for their initial teacher education qualification (up to a maximum of five years of tuition costs) or the amount of outstanding HELP debt at the commencement of their teaching position in an eligible location, whichever amount is less.
The program will initially be open to teachers who have been teaching in an eligible location since 2019, with the number of eligible teachers increasing as they reach the four-year requirement.
This means that teachers already teaching in a very remote location could already be eligible for a HELP debt reduction, or on the path to becoming eligible and should consider continuing working to support their local school community and students.
The measures are one component of the Government’s wider policy of Closing the Gap and improving educational outcomes for students in remote and very remote Australia.
The program is designed to attract and retain a high-quality teacher workforce, provide critical educational continuity, and support for students in very remote areas.
Currently, performance outcomes for students on a range of indicators such as school truancy, school attendance, NAPLAN and PISA results, Year 12 attainment, and pre-school enrolments worsen with remoteness. Our Government wants to reverse this trend.
Getting more teachers to live and work in rural and remote Australia is also part of the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan, which was agreed by Education Ministers in December 2022.
More information about the program and how to apply is available at https://www.education.gov.au/higher-education-loan-program/reduction-higher-education-loan-program-help-debts-teachers-very-remote-areas