Applying for a CSP and/or HELP loan

To apply for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) and/or Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan, you must submit an electronic Commonwealth Assistance form (eCAF), called a Request for Commonwealth assistance form by the census date.

When you enrol in your course, your provider will ask how you want to pay for your tuition fees. This is where you notify them you want to use a HELP loan. Your provider will issue you with an invitation to submit your eCAF. eCAFs are only available from your university, or higher education provider.

Your provider may set an administrative date that is before the census date. This is your provider’s deadline for you to complete certain requirements such as submitting forms or finalising payments. However, your provider must allow you to submit your form right up until census date.

Completing your eCAF

When completing your eCAF, you will need to provide your USI and your TFN (if applying for a HELP loan). If you have applied for a TFN but not yet received it from the Australian Taxation Office, you can submit your Certificate of Application for a TFN. You will need to notify your provider as soon as possible when you receive your TFN.

The personal information you provide in your eCAF should be the same as those used to apply for your TFN and USI to ensure that your higher education provider can verify your TFN and USI and confirm your eligibility to access Commonwealth assistance.

What if I make a mistake?

If you realise you have made a mistake on your form, you should contact your provider to correct it as soon as possible. There is a six-week period after the census date to correct these errors.

This six-week period cannot be used as an extension to apply for Australian citizenship, become eligible for a CSP and/or HELP loan, or provide requested documentation to your provider to prove your eligibility.

Payment options

The CSP/HECS-HELP eCAF has a section that asks you how you intend to pay your student contribution amount. Here you can indicate your intentions to pay some or all of your student contribution amount up-front to your provider. The FEE-HELP eCAF does not include this option, so if you only want to use FEE-HELP for some of your tuition fees, you must ensure you tell your provider this.

If you provide your TFN on your CSP/HECS-HELP eCAF, even if you select the option ‘Full upfront payment of my student contribution amount’, your remaining student contribution amount will be deferred to a HECS-HELP loan if you have not paid up-front by the census date.

Submitting an eCAF?

You only need to submit an eCAF once per course of study. However, if your eligibility for a CSP and/or HELP loan changes, you will need to contact your provider as soon as possible.

If you change your course and/or provider, you will need to submit a new eCAF for the new course. Your HELP application is not carried over between courses or providers.