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Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) Debt Reduction Scheme: Ideas, Concerns and Perspectives of the NRHSN Student Body

The NRHSN Executive Committee is pleased to share the NRHSN HELP Debt Reduction Scheme Position Paper. 

In late 2021, the Federal Government announced the implementation of the HELP Debt Reduction for Rural Doctors and Nurse Practitioners scheme, as a means of addressing the shortage of medical professionals throughout rural, regional and remote Australia.1 As part of the initiative, eligible health professionals located in communities ranked three to seven according to the Modified Monash Model (MMM) for rurality may have up to 100% of their Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) Debt reduced, depending upon a variety of factors. At the time of publishing (August 2022), the scheme remains applicable only to general practitioners and nurse practitioners, as a means of “(building) on programs and incentives already in place to encourage privately practicing doctors and nurse practitioners to live and work in rural, remote or very remote areas of Australia…”

As the peak representative body for students across all sectors of rural health, the National Rural Health Student Network (NRHSN) felt compelled to highlight the ideas, concerns, and perspectives of the future rural workforce of Australia. Considering the 2021 announcement, we surveyed our student body to gain insight regarding the strengths and pitfalls of the proposed program, as per the workforce to which it is targeted.

Check out the Position Paper for more information.