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.
FEE-HELP loan does not cover costs like accommodation, laptops or text books, it is to pay your full fee-paying tuition fees.
You can view a fact sheet on FEE-HELP here.
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; or
- 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 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
- have an available HELP balance
- have a Unique Student Identifier (USI) prior to the first census date (for new enrolments from 1 January 2021)
- maintain a pass-rate of 50 per cent or above to continue to be eligible for FEE-HELP if you are studying at a non-university higher education provider
- maintain a pass-rate of 50 per cent or above to be eligible for FEE-HELP if you are commencing study in a new course at an Australian university from 1 January 2022
- not undertake more than 2 years' worth of higher education study in the last 12 months, unless your provider has assessed you as capable of taking on a higher study load.
To get a FEE-HELP loan, you will need your tax file number (TFN), or Certificate of application for a 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.
You only need to apply for FEE-HELP once for the duration of your course.
The Higher Education Relief Package was announced by the Government in 2020 in response to COVID-19. In it, loan fees for FEE-HELP loans were waived from 1 April 2020 to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on students and higher education providers.
The Government has extended the FEE-HELP loan fee exemption until 31 December 2021, this means that undergraduate students accessing a FEE-HELP loan were not charged the FEE-HELP loan fee for census dates from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2021.
Subject to the passage of legislation, the Government is extending the exemption until 31 December 2022.
Currently, if you get a FEE-HELP loan to pay for your undergraduate course, you will have to pay a 20 per cent 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
- you are getting a FEE-HELP loan to pay for approved bridging studies.
*The loan fee does not count towards your combined HELP limit.
What are the pass rate requirements?
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 per cent pass rate will apply.
If you begin your enrolment with a public or private university on or after 1 January 2022 and apply for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP), HECS-HELP or FEE HELP, the 50 per cent 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 per cent of your total attempted units in order to remain eligible for a CSP, HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP.
For example, if you are enrolled in a diploma course, use FEE-HELP to pay for your Trimester 1 fees, 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 per cent 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.
If you choose to change courses or providers, your completion rate does not follow you, allowing you to re-set the clock on the 50 per cent pass rate. You may choose to pay for units up-front in your course to allow you to increase your success rate and regain eligibility for Commonwealth assistance.
If you have a low completion rate and you can demonstrate 'special circumstances' have adversely affected your academic performance, your education provider can allow consideration for these impacts.
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.