When you attend university or an approved higher education provider, you can get a FEE-HELP loan to pay all or part of your tuition fees.
A FEE-HELP loan does not cover costs like accommodation, laptops or text books.
Job-ready Graduates Package
Minister for Education Dan Tehan announced the Job-ready Graduates Package (the package) of reforms to higher education on 19 June 2020.
Under the package, the Government’s funding of more than $18 billion in 2020 to fund Australia’s universities will grow to $20 billion by 2024. The package will create more 100,000 new university places by 2030 and will provide additional support for students in regional and remote Australia.
The changes will deliver more job-ready graduates in the disciplines and regions where they are needed most and help drive the nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The package will ensure better university funding arrangements, a better integrated tertiary system, targeted investments in national priorities, improved transparency and accountability, and more opportunities for regional, remote and Indigenous students.
The Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020 was introduced into the House of Representatives on 26 August 2020 and passed the House of Representatives on 1 September 2020.
On 3 September 2020, the Senate referred this Bill to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee, with a reporting date of 25 September 2020. Information about this process is now available.
For more information, visit the Job-ready Graduates Package page.
Your provider will assess your eligibility for a FEE-HELP loan against the criteria below. If you have any questions, please contact your provider.
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.
- be enrolled in a fee-paying place at a provider that offers FEE-HELP loans.
- be enrolled in an eligible course at your provider by the census date (your provider can tell you if your course is eligible).
- submit the Request for FEE-HELP loan form to your provider by the census date.
- not have already borrowed up to your HELP loan limit.
- If you are studying at a non-university, you will also need to meet the 'pass rate' requirements.
You can borrow up to the combined HELP loan limit to pay your tuition fees. This 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'.
For 2020, the HELP loan limit is $106,319. If you plan to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary science leading to initial registration, or eligible aviation courses the HELP loan limit is $152,700.
Your HELP balance is renewable. Any compulsory or voluntary repayments starting from the 2019–20 income year will top up a person's HELP balance. These repayments will be applied to a person's HELP balance from 1 July 2020 onwards. Repayments can be re-borrowed in the future, up to the current HELP loan limit.
You can check you HELP balance on myHELPbalance
To check your balance you need to know your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN). A CHESSN is a unique identifying number. It is important that you only have one CHESSN.
For information on the new combined HELP loan limit, please see 2020 loan limit changes on the Study Assist website.
If you began your current enrolment with a non-university higher education provider on or after 1 January 2018 and apply for FEE-HELP, the 50% pass rate will apply.
This means that once you have undertaken 4 or more units in a sub-bachelor level course, or 8 or more units in bachelor and above level courses, you must have passed at least 50% of your total attempted units in order to remain eligible for FEE-HELP. For example, if you are enrolled in a diploma course and in Trimester 1 you undertake 4 units and fail 3, you will not be eligible to access FEE-HELP in Trimester 2. You would have needed to pass at least 2 units.
Then if in Trimester 2, having paid for your units upfront you undertook another 4 units (8 units in total), you would need to pass 3 of those in order to re-establish your FEE-HELP eligibility in Trimester 3 (i.e. 8 units attempted and 4 passed).
What you need to ensure is that you pass at least 50% of your total attempted units across your course of study. Otherwise you will have to pay the tuition fees upfront until you improve your pass rate.
Note: OUA has its own pass rate requirements in place, where a student must undertake 8 or more units for the pass rate to apply.
If you get a FEE-HELP loan to pay for your undergraduate course, you will have to pay a 25% loan fee*
The loan fee does NOT apply to you if:
- you study at Bond University, the University of Notre Dame Australia, Torrens University or the University of Divinity and your unit of study has a census date after 1 January 2019,
- your course is postgraduate study (including higher degrees by research) or is an enabling course,
- you are enrolled in units of study through Open Universities Australia, or
- you are getting a FEE-HELP loan to pay for approved bridging studies.
*The loan fee does not count towards your FEE-HELP limit.
Loan fee exemption
On 12 April 2020, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, the Minister for Education and Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, announced the Higher Education Relief Package. This was in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the Higher Education Relief Package, to encourage students to commence or continue study during Semester 2 2020, no student will be charged a FEE-HELP loan fee for units of study with a census date between 1 April and 30 September 2020. The loan fee exemption will be automatically applied when your loan data is submitted by your provider to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
To get a FEE-HELP loan, you will need a tax file number (TFN) and a Request for a FEE-HELP loan form, which your provider will give you.
Your form must be filled in and submitted to your provider before the census date (or administrative date).