Bruce Chapman wins AFR Award

Bruce Chapman AFR

Article published by the Australian Financial Review - read full article here

Australian National University economist Bruce Chapman, designer of the HECS student loan system which funded the expansion of Australian higher education for the past three decades, is the winner of the 2017 Australian Financial Review Higher Education Lifetime Achievement Award.

Professor Chapman said he was privileged and honoured to receive the award, which is sponsored by UniSuper, for his work on the income contingent loan system for student fees introduced by then education minister John Dawkins in 1989.

Australia became the first country in the world to have such a scheme working nationally.

The judging panel said it was "a world-leading innovation in public policy which has stood the test of time".

"Its hallmark is fairness, and it is thanks to Bruce's work that Australia has been able to expand access to higher education in an equitable and cost-efficient way," the panel said.

Interviewed last week Professor Chapman said the most important feature of HECS was that it was "an insurance instrument" to take risk out of borrowing money to pay higher education tuition fees.

Without a scheme such as his – originally called the Higher Education Contribution Scheme and now known as HECS-HELP – students faced financial catastrophe if they could not repay student loans.

"There's a lot of very unhappy people in the US. If you are unemployed, bad luck," he said.

The judging panel also recognised Professor Chapman's highly influential continuing work on income contingent loans.

Updated:   14 August 2017 / Responsible Officer:  Dean, Business & Economics / Page Contact:  College Web Team