Government HELP schemes

As a domestic student, there may be a Government HELP loan scheme to assist you to meet the cost of studying

Watch this video from the Australian Government explaining some important points about student loans. Video transcript (PDF, 86.2KB)

You can also watch our video on Enrolling in StudentConnect which includes applying for HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP and SA-HELP.

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 aren't 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.

In Trimester 1 and Trimester 2 each year, you are required to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). If eligible, you could get 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, click on the relevant tab below.

HECS-HELP

HECS-HELP is a loan offered by the Commonwealth Government. If you choose to pay for your fees via HECS-HELP, the Commonwealth Government pays your tuition fee (student contribution) amount directly to Deakin. This amount is then reported to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and becomes your HELP debt.

If you are enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) and meet the citizenship requirements, you may be able to use HECS-HELP to cover your tuition fees (student contribution). HECS-HELP does not cover accommodation, technology, text books or your Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).

HECS-HELP applies for the duration of your course even if you intermit your studies. Your HECS-HELP request will remain active unless you choose to cancel it by completing a new electronic Commonwealth Assistance form (eCAF) in StudentConnect or you transfer courses. If you transfer to a new course you need to complete a new eCAF - one eCAF per course.

If you are unable to access StudentConnect you must make a request in writing to the University via Student Central.

There may be other fees or charges you'll need to pay which are not covered by HELP.  You should check your invoice in StudentConnect to see if you have any outstanding amounts.

Eligibility criteria

  • Students must be Australian citizens or holders of a permanent humanitarian visa, enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place.
  • Holders of a permanent visa in a CSP are unable to access this loan scheme and are required to pay the full student contribution amount up front.
  • Eligible New Zealand citizens may defer their fees to HECS-HELP. Find out more.
  • Students must have an available HELP balance.

You will not be eligible for Commonwealth support or a HELP loan if we reasonably expect that you will not undertake any of your course of study in Australia.

How to apply for HECS-HELP

You will complete an electronic Commonwealth Assistance form (eCAF) as part of your initial enrolment or after you enrol. You can make changes to this form in StudentConnect by selecting the Commonwealth Assistance menu option. If you are eligible for HECS-HELP you need to nominate how you intend to pay for your tuition fees.

  • If you elect to pay your fees upfront, the full amount of your tuition fees (student contribution) will show as owing on your invoice. You can make payment of any amount as long as you make payment before the invoice due date. If your eCAF has been completed with your tax file number, any unpaid amount at the census date will be reported as a HECS-HELP debt to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
  • If you elect to defer your fees, your tuition fees will be reported as a HECS-HELP debt to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Any payment you make will not be applied to your fees as you have elected to defer your fees through HECS-HELP. If you would like to make a payment please elect to pay your fees upfront. You can change your payment option any time before the census date.

Following 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 your HELP debt. We will send you notification that your eCAN is available to view. We encourage you to view and download a copy of your eCAN for your records every study period.

Student contribution payment methods

  • Pay all of your student contribution up front.
  • Pay some of your student contribution up front and receive a HECS-HELP loan to defer the balance.
  • Defer your payment through the taxation system and receive a HECS-HELP loan for the full amount of your student contribution.

If you complete your eCAF and provide your Tax File Number (TFN) any amount still owing as at the census date will be deferred to the ATO.  As your HECS-HELP will remain active for your course you need to be aware of your enrolment details and carefully review any enrolment change or intermission request you make as a HECS-HELP debt may be incurred.

Upfront payment HECS-HELP discount

From 1 January 2021, you can receive the HECS‑HELP discount for upfront student contribution payments of $500 or more if you are eligible for HECS‑HELP assistance. You will receive a discount of 10 percent on the upfront payment. You may choose to pay some of your student contributions upfront and defer the rest with a HECS‑HELP loan.

For example, if you make an upfront payment of $900, the government will pay one‑ninth of $900, being $100. So you get the benefit of reducing your fees by $1000. You can then pay for the remainder of your student contribution amount with a HECS‑HELP loan.

HELP limits - how much can I borrow?

On 1 January 2020, your HECS-HELP balance became your HELP balance and the HECS-HELP loan limits became the HELP loan limits. The HELP loan 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. Your HELP balance is renewable. Any compulsory or voluntary HELP repayments starting from the 2019-2020 income year will top up your HELP balance. These repayments were applied to your HELP balance from 1 July 2020.

You need to keep track of your HELP loan borrowings to ensure you do not exceed the HELP loan limit.

You can borrow up to the combined HELP loan limit detailed below.

Year

Limit

2020$106,319
$152,700 for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science
2021$108,232
$155,448 for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science or eligible aviation courses

For more information visit StudyAssist Higher Education Reform - Student FAQs.

Changes in citizenship status

If you have changed your citizenship status you must:

  • attend your citizenship ceremony before the census date for your relevant teaching period and
  • provide a certified copy of your citizenship certificate to the University in order to be eligible for HELP loans for that study period.

You cannot use HECS-HELP for retrospective (previous) study periods.

More information

For HELP repayment or eligibility information visit the StudyAssist website. If you need help completing your form contact Student Central.

FEE-HELP

FEE-HELP is a loan programme that assists eligible fee paying students to pay their tuition fees at higher education providers. FEE-HELP does not cover accommodation, technology, text books or your Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).

As a FEE-HELP student your invoice will show your tuition fees as owing. Any tuition fees not paid defer to your HELP debt shortly after the census date each study period.

If you take out a FEE-HELP loan, the Commonwealth Government pays the loan amount directly to Deakin on your behalf and a HELP debt is recorded for you with the Australian Taxation Office.

Be aware there may be other fees or charges you'll need to pay which are not covered by HELP.  You should check your invoice on StudentConnect to see if you have any outstanding amounts.

FEE-HELP applies for the duration of your course. If you intermit your studies your FEE-HELP form will remain in place. If you transfer to another course you will need to complete a new FEE-HELP form.

If you need further help, contact Student Central.

Eligibility criteria

Citizenship

  • Students must be Australian citizens or holders of a permanent humanitarian visa, in a fee-paying place
  • Holders of other permanent visas are not eligible for FEE-HELP unless they are undertaking a bridging course for overseas trained professionals
  • From January 1 2016 eligible New Zealand citizens may defer their fees to FEE-HELP. Find out more.

From 1 January 2013, a person will not be eligible for a HELP loan if a higher education provider reasonably expects the person will not undertake any of their course of study in Australia.

Courses eligible for FEE-HELP

  • Accredited undergraduate award programs
  • Accredited postgraduate award programs
  • Bridging courses for overseas trained professionals to enable them to meet the requirements for entry into their profession in Australia
  • Courses to enable students to meet the requirements for entry into an award program
  • Units of study made available by higher education providers, access to which was provided by Open Learning Australia

Is FEE-HELP means tested?

No, FEE-HELP is not means tested.  if you meet the citizenship criteria and studying an eligible course you can access FEE-HELP.

HELP limits - how much can I borrow?

On 1 January 2020, your FEE-HELP balance became your HELP balance and the FEE-HELP loan limits became the HELP loan limits. The HELP loan includes all FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Student loans and any HECS-HELP loans incurred from 1 January 2020.

You can borrow up to the combined HELP loan limit detailed below. This limit excludes any loan fee. A loan fee of 25% applies to FEE-HELP loans for undergraduate courses of study. This loan fee for undergraduate courses is being reduced from 1 July 2021.

You need to keep track of your HELP loan borrowings to ensure you do not exceed the HELP loan limit.

Year

Limit

2020$106,319
$152,700 for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science
2021$108,232
$155,448 for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science or eligible aviation courses

For more information visit StudyAssist Higher Education Reform - Student FAQs.

Tuition fee payments

Prior to the invoice due date you can still make payments directly to Deakin.  Alternatively once the HELP debt has been reported to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) you can make voluntary repayments to them of any amount.

Further information on how to make a voluntary payment is available from ATO voluntary repayments.

How to apply for FEE HELP

If you would like to access FEE-HELP please complete an electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) via StudentConnect.

If completed correctly your form will be automatically approved upon submission.

To check your FEE-HELP form has been completed correctly log into StudentConnect and generate an invoice. If you have provided your Tax File Number, your form has been completed correctly. The tuition fees will still display as owing just in case you would like to make a payment.

You will also be issued with a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (eCAN) each enrolled study period. This will detail any amount deferred to the ATO. We encourage you to view and download a copy of your eCAN for your records.

You only need to apply for FEE-HELP once for each course. If you change courses or start a new one then you will need to complete another eCAF. HELP loans will automatically cease upon either completion or withdrawal from a course with no further action required.

If you need further help, contact Student Central.

SA-HELP

Eligible students who do not wish to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) upfront to the University can request assistance from the Commonwealth, and defer the fee through an element of the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) known as SA-HELP.

The amount of the loan will be added to the student's accumulated HELP debt.

Student contribution payment methods

Eligible students may choose to:

  • pay some of the fee upfront and obtain an SA-HELP loan for the remainder
  • obtain a loan for the full amount of the fee.

Eligibility criteria

Students must:

  • be Australian citizens or holders of a permanent humanitarian visa who are residing in Australia
  • From January 1 2016 eligible New Zealand citizens may defer their fees to SA-HELP. Find out more.
  • be enrolled in an eligible course of study with a higher education provider
  • meet the Tax File Number (TFN) requirements
  • complete the online SA-HELP form by the census date each Trimester/Semester.

How to apply for SA-HELP

To apply for SA-HELP go to StudentConnect and select the SA-HELP menu option. This is a different form to HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP.

To check your SA-HELP form has been completed correctly log into StudentConnect and generate an invoice. If the SSAF amount does not display as owing and you have provided your Tax File Number, your form has been completed correctly. Otherwise you can contact Student Central to make sure.

You will be issued with a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (eCAN) each enrolled study period. This will detail any amount deferred to the ATO.

If you need further help, contact Student Central.

More information

For HELP repayment or eligibility information visit the StudyAssist website. If you need help completing your form contact Student Central.

OS-HELP

Planning to study overseas?

If eligible, you can apply for a Government loan to help pay travel expenses, such as airfares, accommodation and other travel expenses, so you can complete part of your studies overseas.

This type of support is called an OS-HELP loan. The funding for OS-HELP is provided by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment and administered by Deakin University.

OS-HELP is designed to assist eligible Commonwealth supported students, based in Australia, to undertake some of their study overseas. New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holders may be eligible to access OS-HELP loans provided they came to Australia as a dependent child and meet the relevant residency criteria. Higher degree by research or other full fee-paying students cannot apply.

You will incur your OS-HELP debt on the day the OS-HELP loan amount is paid into your bank account. The amount you borrow will be added to your accumulated HELP debt (if you have one) and repayable under the same conditions. Please refer to the OS-HELP Statement of terms and conditions booklet (PDF, 387.3KB) for up-to-date information.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for an OS-HELP loan, you must:

  • be an Australian citizen or the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa
  • be enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate course of study at Deakin University in a Commonwealth supported place (eligible for HECS-HELP)
  • be enrolled in your unit of study in a Commonwealth supported place (eligible for HECS-HELP)
  • have already successfully completed at least 8 credit points (1 EFTSL) in the same course of study as the one in which the overseas study is being undertaken
  • have at least 1 credit point (0.125 EFTSL) of study remaining to complete your course after your overseas study is finished
  • be enrolled full time in an approved overseas study program outside Australia (1 credit point per 4 weeks of overseas study or a minimum of 3 credit points for Deakin Abroad and Exchange programs)
  • have your overseas study count as credit towards your enrolled Deakin course
  • have not received OS-HELP for overseas study on more than one other occasion from any university (not including supplementary amounts for Asian language study)
  • have not received OS-HELP for study which commenced within six months of the study commencement date of the next overseas study period
  • have not completed the overseas study before making an application for an OS-HELP loan.

The eligibility detailed above is not discretionary, all conditions must be met. If you do not meet all of the criteria you are not eligible for an OS-HELP loan.

View Frequently asked questions about OS-HELP


How much can I borrow?

In 2020 the maximum you can borrow in a six-month period is:

  • $6913 (for study outside Asia)
  • $8295 (for study within Asia in one of 26 eligible countries)
    • an additional $1104 if you will be undertaking Asian language study in preparation for study in Asia.

How to apply for OS-HELP

No further funding is available for 2020, If you have an enquiry please contact os-help@deakin.edu.au.

More information

For HELP repayment or eligibility information visit the StudyAssist website. If you need help completing your form contact Student Central.

Please read the Deakin University OS-HELP Guidelines.

Finding out about your total HELP debt

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) keeps track of your accumulated HELP debt through the tax system. The ATO can provide you with a record of your HELP loan (or loans), indexation amounts and voluntary and compulsory repayments.

To find information on how to view all of your reported HELP debts, visit the ATO website.

FAQs

I completed a FEE-HELP form - why do my fees show as owing?

As a FEE-HELP student your invoice will show your tuition fees as owing. Any tuition fees not paid defer to your HELP debt shortly after the census date each study period.

Why do I have to pay the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)?

All domestic students pay the SSAF. It helps to pay for important services such as counselling, welfare service, sporting and recreational activities, as well as independent student representation structures for all students. You can have a say in how the SSAF is used. The consultation period closes each July for the following year.

How do I cancel a HELP loan?

  • HECS-HELP
    If you don't want to use HECS-HELP, you will need to cancel your form by completing a new Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) in StudentConnect and select the Upfront payment option. You will need to do this yourself, we cannot cancel this form for you. If you discontinue or complete your course, your form will cease automatically.
  • FEE-HELP
    If you want to cancel your FEE-HELP form you will need to send an email the University to requesting to cancel your FEE-HELP form. If you discontinue or complete your course, your form will cease automatically.
  • SA-HELP
    If you want to cancel your SA-HELP form you will need to send an email the University to requesting to cancel your SA-HELP form.. If you discontinue or complete your course, your form will cease automatically.
  • OS-HELP
    You cannot cancel a OS-HELP loan after payment is made. If your OS-HELP loan has not been paid, and you longer want to proceed, you must immediately request your loan be cancelled by email to the University.

What is my CHESSN?

Your CHESSN is your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number. It is a unique, personal identification number that helps you keep up to date with the amount of Commonwealth assistance, like a HELP loan, you have used for your studies. Your CHESSN is available on your Commonwealth Assistance Notice.

What is a Commonwealth Assistance Notice?

Your electronic Commonwealth Assistance Notice (eCAN) shows the units you studied, your student contributions (tuition fee), any payment you made and your 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.

Do I still incur a HELP debt even if I don't finish my course?

Yes. If you remain enrolled in a unit of study after the census date, you will incur tuition fees for that unit. If you have submitted a request for HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP or SA-HELP, your tuition fees will be deferred to your HELP debt.

How can I keep track of my HELP balance?

Using myHELPbalance will help you track your loan usage and your HELP balance.

HELP changes

A combined HELP loan limit was introduced on 1 January 2020. Only new HECS-HELP borrowing will count towards the new HELP limit. For more information on how these measures might affect you visit StudyAssist Higher Education Reform - Student FAQs.

Finding out about your total HELP debt - track your loan limit

You need to keep track of your HELP loan borrowings to ensure you do not exceed the HELP loan limit.

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 to access your balance. This can be found on your Commonwealth Assistance Notice.

To find information on how to view all HELP debts reported to the Australian Taxation Office on your behalf, visit the ATO website.

Paying back HELP loans

You'll need to start repaying your debt as soon as your repayment income is above a certain threshold (which is adjusted every year) even if you're still studying. You can find further information through StudyAssist.

Information regarding repaying a HELP debt, including how to find out the current balance is available from the Australian Taxation Office.

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