Learning to Live with Loans? International Policy Transfer and the Funding of Higher Education
19 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2006
Over the last decade or so a number of OECD economies have migrated from providing higher education free at the point of consumption to levying user charges. However, rather than charges for tuition being paid up-front, contributions have taken the form of income-contingent loans. Graduates therefore contribute to the costs of their education, after they have graduated and when they are earning. The earliest example of this instrument was in Australia, with the introduction of the Higher Education Contributions Scheme (HECS). This paper argues that following their successful introduction in Australia, income-contingent loans offer a good example of successful international policy transfer, with elements of that scheme being adopted and modified for use in New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom. The paper reviews the conditions for successful policy transfer and discusses the reasons why the arrangements have not proliferated in non-OECD countries.
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