I'll be choosing to pay any HECS-HELP fees "up front" as my "repayment income" would be so high that the full amount would fall due with each tax return anyhow. By paying "up front" I'll get a 20% discount on the HECS-HELP fee amount, so the total cost for the MoA course (based on 2010 HECS-HELP fee rates) will be $9,080 (plus textbooks etc.), rather than the $15,000 as a fee-paying student. If I get a HECS placement the commonwealth government will pay $22,734 in subsidy to JCU (I'm not sure if the 20% "up front" HECS-HELP discount is also paid by the government to JCU). Overall, it looks like I'd end up paying around 26.6% of the "full cost" ($34,084) of the MoA course if I get offered a HECS-HELP place.
Based on the $2,500 "full fee" rate per subject, it would appear that JCU makes a "profit" of at least $19,000 for every HECS-HELP place (ie. the $22,734 amount of government HECS contribution to JCU plus the student's HECS fee payments, minus the $15,000 of notional "full fee" payments). I assume that the $2,500 per subject charged to domestic fee-paying students is more than the actual cost of delivery for each subject. With the course being delivery via the Internet, the incremental cost to JCU for each student must be fairly low (just the cost of some admin overheads, plus marking of the exam and assignment work).
Doing the MoA will consume 1.5 of my remaining HECS-HELP SLE (Student Learning Entitlement). Fortunately the uni study I had done prior to 2005 didn't affect my initial standard entitlement to 7 years worth of full-time study assistance. To date my SLE balance has only been reduced by 0.625 for the subjects I attempted for the GradDipEd course I dropped last year, so I currently have 6.375 SLE remaining. In additional, it appears that if you're over 27 years old there will be an extra 0.25 SLE added each years from 2012 onwards, aimed at encouraging "lifelong study".
Aside from HECS fees, the MoA will probably cost me another $1,000 or so for textbooks, and a small amount for miscellaneous items. There may also be unexpected costs for software (eg. Hearne's "Origin" app for data analysis and graphing would be nice, but it's not worth the $1,000 cost) and there will probably also be some additional expenses associated with the literature review and research subjects.
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