Please note: From 1 January 2012, the Australian Government has lowered the HECS-HELP discount, applied to up-front student contribution payments of $500 or more, from 20 per cent to 10 per cent.
HECS-HELP assists eligible students in paying their student contribution for course(s) of study in which they are enrolled as a Commonwealth supported student.
There are two forms of HECS-HELP:
- a HECS-HELP discount if you pay at least $500 of your student contribution up front, for courses you undertake as part of a program of study that have the same census date, and
- a HECS-HELP loan for all or part of your student contribution. You do not need to start repaying your debt until your repayment income is above the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment (see Study Assist for further information).
Eligibility for HECS-HELP
Find out if you are eligible for HECS-HELP
Taking out a HECS-HELP loan
To obtain a HECS-HELP loan for all or part of your student contribution, you must have included your Tax File Number (TFN) when completing your online CAF. Your unpaid student contribution amount as at the census date will be deferred automatically through a HECS-HELP loan, and become a HELP debt.
Failure to provide your TFN will result in your enrolment being cancelled as a Commonwealth supported student in that course if you have not made a payment of 90% of your student contribution.
If you choose not to provide your TFN, you will not be eligible for a HECS-HELP loan.
If you cannot quote your TFN when you enrol, you should obtain a TFN, or a Certificate of application for a tax file number (TFN) from the Tax Office stating that you have applied for one, and provide it to Student Finance or Campus Central on or before the census date. If you cannot quote your TFN or supply a Certificate of application on or before the census date, you will not be eligible for a HECS-HELP loan. TFNs are used to enable the University to advise the Tax Office of the amount of your debt.
If you provided the University with your Certificate of application for a TFN as proof that you had applied, you have 21 days from the day the Tax Office issues you with a Tax File Number Advice to quote your TFN to the University.
My citizenship status has changed but I have already completed my Commonwealth Assistance Form (CAF)
If your citizenship status changes so that you meet the citizenship
requirements for HECS-HELP after you have completed your CAF but on or before
the census date for a course, you must advise
Student Finance or
in writing of the change in your eligibility status and provide evidence of the
change (such as your Certificate of Australian Citizenship).
Please note: you have six weeks from the census date of a course to correct information already submitted to your University to establish your entitlement to Commonwealth assistance. Once this period has lapsed, it is no longer possible to establish eligibility for Commonwealth assistance for that course.
Does an existing HELP debt affect my eligibility for HECS-HELP?
No. An existing HELP debt does not affect your eligibility for HECS-HELP. Remember, to be eligible for HECS-HELP, you must first be enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place.
What are my payment options under HECS-HELP?
If you are eligible for HECS-HELP, you may pay your student contribution by:
- Making a full up front payment. (You will receive a 10% discount)
- Making a partial up front payment and obtaining a HECS-HELP loan for the remainder (You will receive a 10% discount where your up front payment is $500 or more for courses in a program that have the same census date), or
- Taking out a HECS-HELP loan for the full amount of your student contribution
Making a full up front payment
To make a full up front payment of your student contribution you need to pay only 90% of the total of the student contribution amounts for all the courses you are undertaking as part of a program of study and that have the same census date. You must make this payment on or before the census date for your courses. The Australian Government will pay the remaining 10% (your HECS-HELP discount) directly to the University on your behalf.
You should be aware that the University must not accept a payment of more than 90% of your student contribution for any particular course.
Making a partial up front payment
If you pay less than 90% of the student contribution for the courses in which you are enrolled in a particular program of study that have the same census date, this is a partial up front payment. Partial up front payments must be made on or before the census date. Partial up front payments of $500 or more will attract a 10% discount on the payment amount. Your student contribution amount minus your payment and the discount will be the amount of your HECS-HELP debt.
If you intend to make a partial up front payment, you must provide your TFN
when completing your online Commonwealth Assistance Form (CAF) to enable you to
obtain a HECS-HELP loan for the unpaid portion of your student contribution.
Failure to do so will result in your University cancelling your enrolment as a
Commonwealth supported student in that course.
Repaying my HECS-HELP debt
On 1 June 2011, any HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP debts incurred in 2010 become part of your accumulated HELP debt.
Your accumulated HELP debt also includes any unpaid HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP or OS HELP debts and any Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS), Postgraduate Education Loan Scheme (PELS), Open Learning Deferred Payment Scheme (OLDPS) and Bridging for Overseas-Trained Professionals Loan Scheme (BOTPLS) debts you incurred before 2005.
When do I start repaying my HELP debt?
You must start repaying your accumulated HELP debt when your repayment income is above the minimum repayment threshold for compulsory repayment. To see the repayment thresholds and repayment rates for income earned during 2009-2010 income year visit the Study Assist website.
Is interest charged on my debt?
No. You are not charged interest on your debt. Your accumulated HELP debt is indexed annually on 1 June each year to maintain its real value by adjusting it in line with changes in the cost of living (as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI)). The indexation figure is calculated each year after the March CPI is released.
On 1 June 2013, all debts incurred between January 2012 and June 2012 will be indexed and become part of the accumulated HELP debt. Debts incurred between July 2012 and December 2012 will also become part of the accumulated HELP debt but will not be indexed until 1 June 2013.