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Thread: Should athletes have to pay back HECS?

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    RTDAS pasag's Avatar
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    Should athletes have to pay back HECS?

    HECS, no! Athletes leapfrog payback
    Ari Sharp
    June 11, 2009


    ACCOUNTANTS, engineers and, for argument's sake, warehouse workers all have to repay the cost of their tertiary education — so why don't athletes who go to the Australian Institute of Sport? Especially when the best and most successful — Ricky Ponting, Lleyton Hewitt, Cathy Freeman — earn money that others can only dream of.

    The man who designed the HECS scheme to make students pay asks "why not athletes too?" But retired multimillionaire tennis player and AIS alumni Todd Woodbridge has doubts.

    Taking up a debate invited by Federal Sports Minister Kate Ellis yesterday, HECS architect Bruce Chapman said there was a case for wealthy sports stars to repay costs.

    "I would recognise that most athletes who go through the AIS don't become very rich but there is a case in fairness for those who do to repay some part, or even all, of their debt," said Professor Chapman, an Australian National University economist.

    He said that if a HECS-style program was implemented, it would need a higher threshold than the $41,595 that applies to others.

    But he said that rather than a student loans program, policymakers should consider a "human capital contract", whereby the Government "owned" a stake in future earnings.

    The Canberra-based AIS offers scholarships in 26 sports, with the aim of producing elite sportspeople.

    Among others who have passed through the AIS are basketballers Andrew Bogut, Lauren Jackson and Luc Longley and Socceroo stars Lucas Neill and Mark Viduka, all of whom enjoy considerable financial reward.

    Hewitt boasts a $3.8 million luxury waterfront villa in the Caribbean tax haven of the Bahamas, but under the rules is not required to repay the costs of his training at the AIS.

    Woodbridge, who passed through the AIS in 1989 and went on to earn $10 million in prize money, defended elite athletes against accusations they had it easy.

    "As an athlete, your career is on average 10 years' long," Woodbridge said.

    "A university student's career can be 40 years' long. Sport is a big income earner for many people but it doesn't have the longevity or the security that an education has."

    A panel led by company director David Crawford is to report in two months on alternative sport funding.
    For non-Aussies, HECS is basically an interest-fee student loan from the government which is the way most people here go to uni. You start paying it back once you start earning money. Am yet to hear a good reason why athletes shouldn't pay their state funded training back once they become successful.
    Last edited by pasag; 10-06-2009 at 08:58 AM.
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    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    I had no idea they didn't pay back HECS.

    Ridiculous. I don't even understand how this came about.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend andyc's Avatar
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    Yeah, see no reason why they shouldn't have been doing so beforehand.
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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    I know nothing about this but it does sound strange. I could see why people wonder why this is the case.

    Easiest way around this is to create a small seperate pot of cash that is called something different to HECS and is grants for AIS students.

    It would make sense for all HECS students to be treated the same. So just call it different and make it a sport specific grant rather than loan.

    EDIT- Having actualy read the article, that appears to be the case already. The AIS kids are given scholarships. Fair enough IMO. Cant see the problem, it isnt as if they are getting loans and then defaulting.
    Last edited by Goughy; 10-06-2009 at 10:15 AM.
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    Well the question on my mind is does the AIS get money from their competitions and so forth or is it all state funded. I mean certain sports aren't exactly going to bring in the dough but they get trained anyway, particularly Olympians.

    So could you charge professional sports players and not the national amatuers? Seems a bit unven.

    Not really sure about this.
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    Yeah they should be charged a proportion of their earnings, no doubt, as not all sportsmen who go through these academies are going to make much money so it's only fair.. I think thats pretty awesome that Aus has a system in place like that in the first place
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    Hall of Fame Member Johnners's Avatar
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    Yes.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member Burgey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clapo View Post
    Yes.
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    International Coach howardj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    I had no idea they didn't pay back HECS.

    Ridiculous. I don't even understand how this came about.
    They do pay back HECS, but not the resources and money that the AIS puts into them.

    Anyway, yes they should pay it back.

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    Hall of Fame Member Son Of Coco's Avatar
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    Yeah I think they should pay it back and it should be on a scale like HECS with a higher threshold. I like Woodbridge saying they only earn money for 10 years...does he commentate for free? These guys often step into roles after they finish playing that people who have degrees can't get. Being who they are opens doors. You don't see the top student in many degrees being paid millions for a Bonds advertising campaign.
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    Hall of Fame Member Johnners's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Son Of Coco View Post
    Yeah I think they should pay it back and it should be on a scale like HECS with a higher threshold. I like Woodbridge saying they only earn money for 10 years...does he commentate for free? These guys often step into roles after they finish playing that people who have degrees can't get. Being who they are opens doors. You don't see the top student in many degrees being paid millions for a Bonds advertising campaign.
    Along with that, people don't always stay in the same field of their degree.

    Like Pasag said in his first post, I'm yet to hear an argument that convinces me why they shouldn't have to pay.

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    Cricketer Of The Year James90's Avatar
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    The question I want answered is why do these assholes take their government funded training, make a career out of it and then go overseas with their millions of dollars to countries where they don't pay any of it back to society.
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    U19 Cricketer Trumpers_Ghost's Avatar
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    well i's not actually HECS (which they would have to pay back), but rather scholarships, which by definition are "gifts" rather than loans.

    However I do agree with the sentiment.

    Payback should be like HECS (if you're not earning good money then you don't have to pay it back) but if you're raking it in then I think that there is atleast a moral obligation to donate the equivilent to grassroots development of the sport in question.

    cheers

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    I dont get the mentality to make "scholarship" students pay their money back. Its quite clear that these are not loans.

    It is scholarships for elite level athetes not just any scrub. This is an investment in events of national importance and prestige. AIS exists primarily for national pride purposes. Id argue that the numbers are so few and the pay back to the nation in terms of global recognition and entertainment far outweighs the cost.

    Does AIS exist to help kids become good athletes for their personal benefit or does AIS exist because there is a public expectation of a high level of athletic performance and Australians derive national pride and identity from success in sports?

    Not the same I know but: I got a scholarship from the EU to do my Masters. Ive since left the EU and have no plans to ever work there. Im under no obligations to pay it back and if I had been then I would have thought twice about doing it.
    Last edited by Goughy; 11-06-2009 at 12:26 AM.

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    U19 Cricketer Trumpers_Ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goughy View Post
    I dont get the mentality to make "scholarship" students pay their money back. Its quite clear that these are not loans.

    It is scholarships for elite level athetes not just any scrub. This is an investment in events of national importance and prestige. AIS exists primarily for national pride purposes. Id argue that the numbers are so few and the pay back to the nation in terms of global recognition and entertainment far outweighs the cost.

    Does AIS exist to help kids become good athletes for their personal benefit or does AIS exist because there is a public expectation of a high level of athletic performance and Australians derive national pride and identity from success in sports?

    Not the same I know but: I got a scholarship from the EU to do my Masters. Ive since left the EU and have no plans to ever work there. Im under no obligations to pay it back and if I had been then I would have thought twice about doing it.
    ^^^ this is the exact reason they don't have to pay it back, and honestly its a pretty compelling one. However it would be good if a donation was made to grassroots development "in apreciation" of the support given to achieve a succesful career, much like those who go to snobby private schools tend to do.

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