When you attend university or an approved higher education provider, you can get a FEE-HELP loan to pay all or part of your tuition fees.
A FEE-HELP loan does not cover costs like accommodation, laptops or text books.
Job-ready Graduates Package
On 19 June 2020 the Australian Government announced the Job-ready Graduates Package (the package). Changes proposed in this package affect student contributions and provide additional support for students in regional and remote Australia. The majority of these changes will commence on 1 January 2021, subject to the passage of legislation.
We encourage both current and new students who will be studying from 1 January 2021 to talk to their current or intended higher education provider to confirm how these changes may affect their individual circumstances. Further information can be found on the Job-ready Graduates Package page https://www.dese.gov.au/job-ready-graduates-package.
More information on the additional support for students in regional and remote areas, including the new Tertiary Access Payment and the guaranteed Commonwealth Supported places for Indigenous students can be found on the More opportunities for regional students page https://dese.gov.au/more-opportunities-regional-australia.
Your provider will assess your eligibility for a FEE-HELP loan against the criteria below. If you have any questions, please contact your provider.
To get a FEE-HELP loan, you must:
- be an Australian citizen and study at least part of your course in Australia.
- be a New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holder or permanent humanitarian visa holder and meet the residency requirements.
- be enrolled in a fee-paying place at a provider that offers FEE-HELP loans.
- be enrolled in an eligible course at your provider by the census date (your provider can tell you if your course is eligible).
- submit the Request for FEE-HELP loan form to your provider by the census date.
- not have already borrowed up to your HELP loan limit.
- If you are studying at a non-university, you will also need to meet the 'pass rate' requirements.
You can borrow up to the combined HELP loan limit to pay your tuition fees. This includes all FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Student Loans and any HECS-HELP loans incurred from 1 January 2020.
Once you begin using your HELP loan limit, the amount of HELP you have left to borrow is known as your available 'HELP balance'.
For 2020, the HELP loan limit is $106,319. If you plan to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary science leading to initial registration, or eligible aviation courses the HELP loan limit is $152,700.
Your HELP balance is renewable. Any compulsory or voluntary repayments starting from the 2019–20 income year will top up a person's HELP balance. These repayments will be applied to a person's HELP balance from 1 July 2020 onwards. Repayments can be re-borrowed in the future, up to the current HELP loan limit.
You can check you HELP balance on myHELPbalance
To check your balance you need to know your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN). A CHESSN is a unique identifying number. It is important that you only have one CHESSN.
For information on the new combined HELP loan limit, please see 2020 loan limit changes on the Study Assist website.
If you began your current enrolment with a non-university higher education provider on or after 1 January 2018 and apply for FEE-HELP, the 50% pass rate will apply.
This means that once you have undertaken 4 or more units in a sub-bachelor level course, or 8 or more units in bachelor and above level courses, you must have passed at least 50% of your total attempted units in order to remain eligible for FEE-HELP. For example, if you are enrolled in a diploma course and in Trimester 1 you undertake 4 units and fail 3, you will not be eligible to access FEE-HELP in Trimester 2. You would have needed to pass at least 2 units.
Then if in Trimester 2, having paid for your units upfront you undertook another 4 units (8 units in total), you would need to pass 3 of those in order to re-establish your FEE-HELP eligibility in Trimester 3 (i.e. 8 units attempted and 4 passed).
What you need to ensure is that you pass at least 50% of your total attempted units across your course of study. Otherwise you will have to pay the tuition fees upfront until you improve your pass rate.
Note: OUA has its own pass rate requirements in place, where a student must undertake 8 or more units for the pass rate to apply.
If you get a FEE-HELP loan to pay for your undergraduate course, you will have to pay a 25% loan fee*
The loan fee does NOT apply to you if:
- you study at Bond University, the University of Notre Dame Australia, Torrens University or the University of Divinity and your unit of study has a census date after 1 January 2019,
- your course is postgraduate study (including higher degrees by research) or is an enabling course,
- you are enrolled in units of study through Open Universities Australia, or
- you are getting a FEE-HELP loan to pay for approved bridging studies.
*The loan fee does not count towards your FEE-HELP limit.
Loan fee exemption
On 12 April 2020, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, the Minister for Education and Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, announced the Higher Education Relief Package. This was in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the Higher Education Relief Package, to encourage students to commence or continue study during Semester 2 2020, no student will be charged a FEE-HELP loan fee for units of study with a census date between 1 April and 30 September 2020. The loan fee exemption will be automatically applied when your loan data is submitted by your provider to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
To get a FEE-HELP loan, you will need a tax file number (TFN) and a Request for a FEE-HELP loan form, which your provider will give you.
Your form must be filled in and submitted to your provider before the census date (or administrative date).