Decision not to proceed with tax deductibility cap provides certainty for students

6 November 2013

The University of Sydney today welcomed Treasurer Joe Hockey's announcement that the federal government will scrap the proposed measure to cap self-education expenses.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence said the decision not to proceed with a $2,000 cap on the tax deductibility of self-education expenses would allow more people to pursue further education and undertake professional development.

"This decision is great news for students considering formal studies next year and will allow universities to plan for the 2014 academic year and beyond," Dr Spence said.

"We recently surveyed 3,500 of our current postgraduate students to gauge the likely impact this proposed tax cap may have on their study patterns.

"An alarming 71 percent of respondents said their study would be impacted negatively if a cap was introduced and 19 percent said they would discontinue their studies.

"The overwhelming finding of the survey was that most of the students pursuing further self-education were not on high incomes. Most were in their 20s or 30s on relatively modest incomes, privately covering their expenses to enhance their skills and boost their employment prospects in the job market.

"The survey also confirmed that over 75 percent of our students claiming self-education tax expenses claimed an amount higher than the proposed $2,000 cap.

"Internal modelling suggested that the impact of this measure on the University's budget would have been serious and potentially as high as $42 million.

"Today's announcement is welcome news for the University's bottom line and for education providers across the country.

"I hope that the Government's decision to scrap the self-education cap is publicised widely so postgraduate students can apply to study in 2014 with confidence.

"And I am sincerely grateful to Minister Pyne for his understanding and support in dealing with the issue," Dr Spence added.

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