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What is a SA‑HELP loan?
SA‑HELP is a loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay for all or part of their student services and amenities fee. The student services and amenities fee is a fee that universities (and other approved higher education providers) can charge for student services and amenities of a non-academic nature, such as sporting and recreational activities, employment and career advice, child care, financial advice and food services. Students can choose to defer all or part of their fee for the relevant year.
If you use SA‑HELP, the amount will be added to your accumulated HELP debt. You can take out a SA‑HELP loan even if you do not wish to take out any other HELP loan.
Am I eligible for SA‑HELP?
To be eligible for a SA‑HELP loan, you need to:
- be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent humanitarian visa;
- be a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder who meets the long-term residency requirements;
- be enrolled in a course of study with a university;
- meet the tax file number (TFN) requirements by giving your university either your TFN (if your information is not assessed as correct by the ATO, your application will not be finalised and you will be ineligible for a SA-HELP loan) or a Certificate of application for a tax file number from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO); and
- lodge your Request for SA‑HELP assistance form by the date advised by your university.
For more information about the HELP residency requirements for New Zealand Special Category Visa holders, please read the FAQs NZ SCV page (opens in a new window).
For more information regarding the SA-HELP eligibility requirements (including what the residency requirements are for Australian citizens and permanent humanitarian visa holders), please read the SA-HELP Information booklet, available on the publications page.
How much is the maximum student services and amenities fee?
The maximum student services and amenities fee that a university can charge a full-time student is:
- $290 in 2016,
- $294 in 2017, and
- $298 in 2018.
However, universities can choose to charge different groups of students a different fee amount. For example, on-campus and off-campus students may be charged different amounts.
If your university has multiple fees and you are subject to more than one fee, you cannot be charged more than the maximum annual amount (e.g. $290 in 2016, and $294 in 2017) for the calendar year. Contact your university to find out the fee that will apply to you.
How do I apply for SA‑HELP?
You will need to complete, sign and return the Request for SA‑HELP assistance form to your university on the date advised by your university.
If your form is not submitted by the correct date you will not be entitled to a SA‑HELP loan.
Note: as TFNs are usually provided within 28 days of application, it is essential that you apply to ensure you have your TFN by the date required. If you do not have a TFN by the date required, you will need to arrange a Certificate of application for a TFN with the ATO. Contact the ATO on 13 28 61 for TFN information.
Do I need to re-apply for SA‑HELP each year?
You will only be required to apply for SA‑HELP assistance once for a course of study at a university. If you change universities, you will need to re-apply for SA-HELP by submitting a new Request for SA‑HELP assistance form. If you are enrolled at two different universities, you will need to submit a form at each university where you wish to use a SA‑HELP loan to pay the student services and amenities fee.
How do I repay my SA‑HELP loan?
See the Loan repayment page for information on repaying your loan.