Government HELP schemes

As a domestic student, you may be eligible for a Government HELP loan to assist you to meet your financial obligations.

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.

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

What is HECS-HELP?

HECS-HELP is a loan offered by the Australian Government you can use to pay your student contribution. HECS-HELP does not cover accommodation, technology, textbooks or your Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).

You can only get HECS-HELP if you are enrolled in a CSP and meet the eligibility criteria.

Eligibility criteria

You must be enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place and:

  • be an Australian citizen who will complete some of your course in Australia* OR
  • be a New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holder or permanent humanitarian visa and meet the long-term residency requirements and be resident in Australia for the duration of your study**. Find out more

*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 in Australia.

**Permanent visa holders enrolled in a CSP are unable to access this loan scheme and are required to pay the full student contribution amount up front.

You must also:

If you choose to pay your fees using HECS-HELP, the Australian Government pays your student contribution amount directly to Deakin. This amount is then reported to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and becomes your HELP debt. You repay your HELP debt directly to the ATO (not to Deakin). More information is available on the StudyAssist website.

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.

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.

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.

How to apply for HECS-HELP or pay your student contribution

You will complete an electronic Commonwealth Assistance form (eCAF) as part of your initial enrolment or soon after you enrol. If you are eligible for HECS-HELP you need to choose how you want to pay your tuition fees (student contribution). You can make changes to the eCAF in StudentConnect by selecting the Commonwealth Assistance menu option. Step by step information about completing the eCAF is available on the How to enrol webpage. There is also a video to assist you.

In Section D of the eCAF, you choose how to pay your student contributions.

Option 1: Defer all of your student contribution to HECS-HELP

If you choose to defer all of your fees, they will be reported as a HECS-HELP debt to the ATO shortly after the census date each study period. 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 you will need to update your eCAF in StudentConnect by selecting the Commonwealth Assistance menu option. You can change your payment option any time before the census date.

Option 2: Pay all or part of your student contribution up front and receive a HECS-HELP loan to defer the balance.

To pay all or part of your fees upfront, choose the Full upfront payment of my student contribution amount option.

The full amount of your tuition fees (student contribution), less the discount for paying all of your fees upfront, will show as owing on your invoice. You can make payments of any amount as long as you make payment before the invoice due date. Payments over $500 will attract an up-front payment HECS-HELP government discount (see below for more information). Note, the discount amount on your invoice is the maximum discount available if all fees are paid upfront. If you choose to make a payment of less than the full amount owing, your discount will be calculated based on the amount paid.

If your eCAF is completed with your TFN, any unpaid amount at the census date will be reported as a HECS-HELP debt to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). If you do not provide your TFN, you will be required to pay all of your fees up-front by the invoice due date.

If you don't apply for a HECS-HELP loan pay or your student contribution upfront by the census date, your CSP enrolment will be cancelled.

Your HECS-HELP request will remain active for the duration of 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, if you are eligible for HECS‑HELP and make an upfront payment of $500 or more (prior to the census date), you can receive the government 10% HECS‑HELP discount on the amount you pay.

The discount effectively increases the value of your upfront payment.

If you pay all of your student contribution in full as an upfront payment, the discount means that you will pay only 90 per cent of the cost of your studies as an upfront payment. The Government will pay the other 10 per cent directly to your provider.

If you want to make a partial upfront payment towards your student contribution, you will receive the discount on payments of $500 or more. The discount you receive is calculated based on the amount you pay.

Example 1 - HECS-HELP discount for full upfront payment of 90% of student contribution amount

Matthew is an Australian citizen. He is enrolled in four units of study for his Bachelor of Engineering and his total student contribution amounts for the semester will be $4,330.

Matthew is eligible for a HECS-HELP loan, but he wants to pay his entire student contribution amounts upfront. To do so, he only needs to pay his provider $3,897 ($4,330 – 10 per cent i.e., 90% of his total student contribution amounts for his units of study) by the census date (amount is rounded down to the nearest dollar).

Example 2 - HECS-HELP up-front discount for a partial upfront payment

Grace is a permanent humanitarian visa holder. She is enrolled in four units of study for her Bachelor of Computing and her total student contribution amounts for the semester will be $4,384. Grace is eligible for a HECS-HELP loan, but she wants to pay half her student contribution amounts upfront ($4,384 ÷ 2 = $2,192) and use a HECS-HELP loan for the remainder.

Grace’s partial upfront payment is more than $500, she is also eligible for the HECS-HELP discount. Her upfront payment amount is multiplied by 1.1111 to determine the full value of her payment ($2,192 x 1.1111 = $2,435.53). The HECS-HELP discount has effectively increased the value of Grace’s upfront payment, so she will only need to use a HECS-HELP loan for $1,948 (amount is rounded down to the nearest dollar).

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

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 -  permanent residents can only get FEE-HELP for approved bridging studies
  • be enrolled in a fee-paying place that offers FEE-HELP
  • be enrolled in an eligible course by census date
  • submit the Request for FEE-HELP loan form (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) by the census date and provide your USI and Tax File Number
  • maintain a pass rate of more than 50 per cent**
  • have an available HELP balance.

*From 1 January 2013, a person is not 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.

**Applies from 1 January 2022. More information is available on the StudyAssist website under FEE-HELP.

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

How to apply for FEE HELP

If you would like to access FEE-HELP please complete an electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) via StudentConnect before the relevant study period census date.

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.

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.

If you need further help, contact Student Central.

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.

Your tuition fees will show as owing on your invoice and you can pay them upfront (prior to the census date) but have the option to defer any unpaid amount to FEE-HELP. This means you authorise Deakin to report unpaid tuition fees for units you remain enrolled in as at the census date as a HELP debt to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

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.

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.

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 in your course in Australia 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.

You will also be issued with a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (eCAN) within 28 days of your loan amount being paid. We encourage you to view and download a copy of your eCAN for your records.

View Frequently asked questions about OS-HELP


How much can I borrow?

In 2022 the maximum you can borrow in a six-month period is:

  • $7100 (for study outside Asia)
  • $8519 (for study within Asia in one of 26 eligible countries)
    • an additional $1133 if you will be undertaking Asian language study in preparation for study in Asia.

How to apply for OS-HELP

Complete the relevant application form below.

Application form for Asia

Application form for other countries

The 2022 OS-HELP loan program will close for applications at 4.00pm on 9 December 2022. The 2023 OS-HELP program will open mid-January 2023 once Government funding has been confirmed.

More information

Please read the Deakin University OS-HELP Guidelines.

For HELP repayment or eligibility information visit the StudyAssist website.

If you need help completing your form contact Student Central.

Combined HELP loan limit

What is the combined HELP loan limit?

The combined HELP loan limit is a cap on what you can borrow from the Australian Government to cover the costs of your tuition fees. It includes all FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP, VET Students Loans and HECS-HELP (with a census date from 1 January 2020).

HELP limits - how much can I borrow?

Once you begin using your HELP loan limit, the amount of HELP you have left to borrow is known as your available HELP balance. 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

2022 $109,206
$156,847 for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science or eligible aviation courses

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

Government HELP FAQs

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.

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.

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

From 1 January 2021, new higher education students will need a USI 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 (Unique Student Identifier) is your individual education number for life. It also creates an online record of your Australian training achievements.

If you don't have a USI, you can create one through the Australian Government site Get a USI. Make sure that when you create your USI, you record your name correctly so that when you verify it with Deakin, your details will match. This process will take you around 5 minutes to complete.

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.

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 Australian Taxation Office on your behalf, visit the ATO website.

Paying back HELP loans

You'll need to start repaying your HELP debt to the Australian Tax office 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 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.

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