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HELP loans

If you are going to study at a higher education provider or university, you might be enrolled in a place where the Government pays part of your fees. This is called a Commonwealth supported place (CSP).

If you are enrolled in a CSP, you still have to pay for some of your fees. You could get a HECS-HELP loan to pay for these.

If you aren't enrolled in a CSP, you are enrolled in a fee paying place. You could get a FEE-HELP loan to pay for your fees.

Each semester you might have to pay a fee for student services and amenities. You could get a SA-HELP loan to cover this fee.

If you are enrolled in a CSP and want to study overseas, you could get an OS-HELP loan to help pay your expenses.


Important notice - legislation changes that affect your HELP loan

The 2018 Student Loan Sustainability Act changed the arrangements for all Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loans:

  • HELP debt repayment rates have changed and the minimum repayment threshold will be lower (from 1 July 2019).

  • The HELP loan limit is indexed each year by the Consumer Price Index. The 2020 HELP loan limit is $106,319 for most students, and $152,700 for students studying medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and eligible aviation courses.

  • The HELP loan limit includes FEE-HELP, VET Student Loans, VET FEE HELP and HECS-HELP, and is called the 'combined HELP loan limit' (from 1 January 2020).

  • A person's HELP balance is renewable. This means that if you reach the limit, you can make repayments on your HELP debt and access HELP until you reach the limit again. Repayments starting from the 2019-20 income year will top up a person's HELP balance.


Very remote teachers HELP debt remission

A qualified teacher, including an early childhood teacher, who relocates to a very remote area of Australia (using the ABS Remote Structure) on or after the start of the 2019 school year, and remains teaching for at least four years in six, may be eligible to have their outstanding HELP debt remitted.

To be eligible, individuals must be engaged as a teacher at any of the following

  • a school providing primary or secondary education;
  • a centre based day care service or
  • a preschool

This initiative also applies to individuals currently teaching in a very remote area of Australia who remains for a further four years. Service prior to the start of the 2019 school year will not count towards the four year requirement.

Teachers working in a very remote area of Australia are able to have indexation on their outstanding HELP debt waived while they remain teaching in that area. There is no length of service requirement for indexation waivers. This is available for eligible teachers from 14 February 2019.

Once teachers are no longer teaching in a very remote area, indexation on any remaining HELP debt will recommence.

Answers to frequently asked questions, application forms and the lists of very remote schools, preschools and centre based day care services can be found on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website –


For further information please contact veryremotehelp [at] dese.gov.au

Increased HELP loan limit for aviation courses

Students undertaking eligible aviation courses of study, with census dates after 1 January 2020, can access the higher combined HELP loan limit. For 2020, the HELP loan limit for students studying medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and eligible aviation courses is $152,700, and $106,319 for all other students.