MYST’s financial guidance: a journey to stability

At just 19 years old, James found himself grappling with a $14,000 HECS debt, leading him to seek financial counseling. His academic setbacks from failing all enrolled subjects in the previous semester not only extended his graduation timeline but also imposed additional costs due to subject re-enrollment.

Such academic struggles were uncharacteristic of James, who had excelled during his Year 12 studies. He confided in his financial counselor about the root cause: his brother’s deceptive actions. His brother had borrowed over $20,000 from acquaintances, promising lucrative returns of up to 20% under the guise of investment opportunities. Concealing his gambling addiction, the brother gambled away the borrowed funds, resulting in total loss.

James was devastated by this revelation, especially since he was aware of his brother’s gambling issues. His brother had persistently sought, pressured, and emotionally manipulated James and their sisters for monetary assistance. Recognizing the substantial debts his brother owed to various parties, James took it upon himself to repay the borrowed money. To achieve this, he secured employment and dedicated six days a week to settling his brother’s debts.

This commitment inevitably strained his academic pursuits. Despite wanting to withdraw from his failed subjects, the passed Census date rendered him liable for the HECS fees for these courses, necessitating their repetition.

In a bid to assist James, his financial counselor reached out to the university’s Board of Studies, advocating for a reconsideration of James’ situation and a potential waiver or write-off of the incurred debt. Fortunately, after evaluating the circumstances, the board granted James debt forgiveness.

The news brought immense relief to James. While he had acted commendably by repaying his brother’s debts, the looming HECS debt would have perpetuated his financial challenges and served as a constant reminder of the hardships endured by him and his family.