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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 one of the following:
    • an Australian citizen who will study at least one unit of your course of study in Australia; or
    • a New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holder who meets the long term residency requirements and who studies the entire course while living in Australia; or
    • a permanent humanitarian visa holder; or an eligible former permanent humanitarian visa holder; who studies the entire course while living in Australia
    • an Australian permanent resident can 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 completion 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
    • 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 approved 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 
  • a USI
  • a Request for FEE-HELP loan form, which only your provider can give you.
  • to fill in and submit your form to your provider before the census date.

You only need to apply for FEE-HELP once for the duration of your course. 

If you have already applied and want to check if your HELP loan has been approved, you will need to ask your provider directly.

Course Cost 

The cost of a full fee-paying place can vary greatly across courses and providers, as providers set their own fees. A course that is approved for FEE-HELP does not mean that the cost of the course is approved or limited by the Australian Government. There is no guarantee that the cost of a course will be under the HELP loan limit.

It is your responsibility to find out the cost of a course - you can check the website or ask your provider directly.

Loan fee exemption

In response to COVID-19, loan fees for FEE-HELP loans were waived from 1 April 2020 to lessen the impact on students and higher education providers. The FEE-HELP loan fee exemption was extended to include census dates up until 31 December 2021.

Another extension of the loan fee exemption was announced but the legislation did not pass before an election was called. Introduction of legislation to waive the loan fee will be a decision for Government.

This means that there is currently no exemption and the FEE-HELP loan fee of 20 per cent will apply to students for census dates in 2022.

Loan fee

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, 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.



See how Lucy compared courses, costs and providers to get the best degree for her.