Gender Issues in Income-Contingent Student Loans: Do Women Benefit?

42 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2019

Date Written: June 16, 2019


Although tertiary study is strongly associated with positive wealth outcomes, for those on the margin student debt can be a deterrent, a source of financial stress, or an indicator of irresponsible bad financial behaviour. In Australia, recent debate regarding the income-contingent loan (ICL) student debt scheme has highlighted gender differences in the ability to repay the debt. Drawing on the Australian HILDA Survey data for 2002–14, this study examined the gender differences for student debt holders, pinpointing some of the gender differences in the student debt trajectory and transitions over the sample period. Findings do show that student debtors in general are slightly less satisfied with their financial situation than the general population and are more likely to be from a socio-economically advantaged background. Results indicate that women are not particularly disadvantaged under the ICL scheme regarding the issues examined.

Keywords: Student debt, Higher Education Contribution Scheme, HECS, HELP, HILDA, Women

JEL Classification: D1, I22, I240

Suggested Citation

West, Tracey, Gender Issues in Income-Contingent Student Loans: Do Women Benefit? (June 16, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Tracey West (Contact Author)

Griffith University ( email )

170 Kessels Road
Nathan, Queensland QLD 4111

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