Government HELP loans
As a domestic student, you may be eligible for a Government HELP loan to assist you to meet your financial obligations to help you complete further training and study.
This video from the Australian Government explains some important points about student loans.
You can also watch our video on enrolling in StudentConnect, which includes applying for HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP and SA-HELP.
A HELP loan is a student loan and is very different to a loan from the bank. Unlike a bank loan, you are only required to pay back your HELP loan once your income reaches a certain amount or threshold known as the Compulsory Repayment Threshold. Once your income reaches that level, you need to start paying off your HELP loan even if you’re still studying.
It’s important to know that you will still have a HELP debt even if you don’t complete your study. When you are repaying a HELP loan, the rate you have to pay will depend on how much you earn and varies from 2% to 8% of your income. The Australian Tax Office or ATO will calculate your repayments based on your income.
Before you access a HELP loan, make sure you understand your obligations around repaying the loan and stay informed about any changes to the HELP scheme and how they could affect your repayments.
[Hannah – fourth year law student]
I chose to take out a HELP loan to pay my tuition fees because I wasn’t in a position to pay for my studies upfront and neither were my parents. When I finish studying this year I will have a $20,000 HELP debt, here is what my payments my look like. If I work fulltime and earn a salary of $55,000 a year, 2% of my pay will go towards repaying my HELP loan. This is taken out of my pay along with regular tax payments. This means I would be making repayments of $1,100 a year towards my HELP debt, which is about $42 a fortnight.
I know that when my salary increases, so will my HELP debt repayments. Each year my HELP debt will increase because of indexation which reflects increases in the cost of living. If I decide to take on more debt, like buy a car, I will need to include my HELP loan repayments in my budget. If I decide to move overseas to work I will still have to make repayment to my HELP debt.
It is important to make informed financial decisions so I will do my research starting with the money smart website before making any financial commitments. A HELP loan is a great way to pay for your study, but it is a loan so make sure you know what is involved. To find out more about HELP loans search online for Study Assist or visit studyassist.gov.au.
Find out which HELP loan is relevant to you
If you are enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP), you still have to pay some of your fees (student contribution). If eligible, you could get a HECS-HELP loan to defer payment of your student contribution.
If you are not enrolled in a CSP, you are enrolled in a fee paying place. This means you are required to pay your tuition fees up-front. You may be eligible for a FEE-HELP loan to defer payment of your tuition fees.
If you are struggling to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF), you may be eligible for an SA-HELP loan to defer payment of this fee.
If you are enrolled in a CSP and want to study overseas, you may be eligible for an OS-HELP loan to help pay your expenses.
To learn more about the types of fee assistance or loans, click on the relevant link below.
Commonwealth Assistance Notice
After the census date of each enrolled study period, you will be issued an electronic Commonwealth Assistance Notice (eCAN). This notice details any amount sent to the ATO as a HELP debt.
Your eCAN shows the units you studied, your student contributions (tuition fee), any payment you made, Student Services and Amenities Fee (if applicable) and the amount of HELP debt you have deferred to the Australian Taxation Office. Your eCAN is available on StudentConnect for each study period. It is made available within 4 weeks after the applicable census date. We will send you an email to let you know when it is available. You have 14 days to let us know if you think your eCAN is incorrect. We encourage you to save a copy for your own record.
Your eCAN is not an invoice. It is a record of your enrolment, fees, payments and any HELP debt you have used. If you have completed a HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP form and have paid all your fees you will still be issued with an eCAN. Your eCAN will show you do not have a HELP debt for the applicable period.
USI - Unique Student Identifier
You will need a USI (Unique Student Identifier) to be eligible for Commonwealth assistance. The types of assistance include a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) and HELP loans such as HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, SA-HELP, OS-HELP.
Your USI is your individual education number for life. It also creates an online record of your Australian training achievements.
Check your total HELP debt and track your loan limit
You need to keep track of your HELP loan borrowings to ensure you do not exceed the HELP loan limit.
Your available HELP balance is the HELP loan limit of that given year, minus your HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET student loans borrowing.
Taking out a loan will reduce your available HELP balance and making a repayment will increase your available HELP balance.
If you've reached your combined HELP loan limit, you'll need to pay your student contribution (tuition fees) upfront before the census date. If you don't pay your remaining fees, your enrolment will be at risk and may be cancelled after the census date for failing to meet the requirements of your enrolment. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) keeps track of your accumulated HELP debt through the tax system.
Find out your current HELP limit and how much of your HELP balance you have left to borrow in the Governments myHELPbalance portal. You will need your CHESSN or USI to access your balance.
To find information on how to view all HELP debts reported to the ATO on your behalf, visit the ATO website.
Paying back HELP loans
You'll need to start repaying your HELP debt to the ATO as soon as your repayment income is above a certain threshold (which is adjusted every year) even if you're still studying. Find further information on StudyAssist.
You do not pay your HELP debt directly to Deakin.
Information regarding repaying a HELP debt is available from the Australian Taxation Office.
HELP for Rural Doctors and Nurse Practitioners initiative
The HELP for Rural Doctors and Nurse Practitioners initiative reduces outstanding Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt for eligible doctors and nurse practitioners who live and work in rural, remote or very remote areas of Australia.
For more information, please visit HELP for Rural Doctors and Nurse Practitioners initiative.
Very remote teacher measures
Teachers may be eligible for remission of their HELP debt or waiver of indexation due to service in a very remote school.
For more information, please visit very remote teacher measures.