HECS‑HELP is a loan scheme for eligible students enrolled in Commonwealth supported places to pay their student contribution amounts. It cannot be used for additional study cost such as accommodation or text books.

HECS-HELP is a loan for all or part of your student contribution. You repay your HELP debt through the Australian taxation system. You do not have to start repaying your HELP debt until your repayment income is above the compulsory repayment threshold, even if you are still studying. The compulsory repayment threshold is adjusted each year. See Study Assist for further information.

Eligibility for HECS-HELP

You are eligible for HECS-HELP if you:

  • are enrolled in a course of study as a Commonwealth supported student; and
  • meet the residency requirements. That is, you must be:
    • an Australian citizen who will be living in Australia for part of your program, or
    • the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa who will be living in Australia for the duration of your program, or
    • A New Zealand Special Category Visa (NZ SCV) holder, or formerly be a Special Category Visa holder and on a pathway to Australian citizenship who meets ALL the long-term residency requirements, and who will be living in Australia for the duration of your program. See studyassist.gov.au for more information.
  • complete your Commonwealth Assistance Form (CAF) via myEnrolment on or before the census date.
  • supply your tax file number (TFN)

Please note: We are required by the Australian Government to cancel enrolments of any student who fails to comply with the above by Census Date.

If you are not eligible for HECS-HELP please refer to the Information for Permanent Residents and New Zealand citizens.

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 Campus Central 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.


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
  • Making a partial up front payment and obtaining a HECS-HELP loan for the remainder, or
  • Taking out a HECS-HELP loan for the full amount of your student contribution

Making a partial up front payment

A partial up front payment is when you pay less than the full amount of student contribution for the course(s) in which you are enrolled in a commonwealth supported place, that have the same census date. Partial up front payments must be made on or before the census date.

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. Your student contribution amount minus your payment will be the amount of your HECS-HELP debt. Failure to do so will result in your your enrolment being cancelled for the unpaid course(s).

HELP debt

Your accumulated HELP debt includes any unpaid HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, SA-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. The compulsory repayment threshold is adjusted each year. To see the repayment thresholds and repayment rates for income earned during a particular 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.