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.

For more information, view the relevant HELP publications.

Eligibility

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, or eligible former New Zealand 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; or
    • a pacific engagement visa holder who is resident in Australia for the duration of your unit(s) (note: a PEV holder becomes eligible from 1 February 2024)
    • 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
  • provide your provider with your Unique Student Identifier(Opens in a new tab/window) (USI) prior to the first census date (for new enrolments from 1 January 2021) unless an exemption applies
  • be assessed as a genuine student and as academically suitable for your unit(s) of study
  • maintain a completion rate of 50 per cent or above if you are studying at Open Universities Australia (OUA) and your units do not form part of a course of study
  • 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).

Applying

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.

FEE-HELP Loan fee

When enrolled in a full fee-paying place, there is a 20 per cent FEE-HELP loan fee applied to some undergraduate study. The loan fee does not count towards the HELP loan limit. The loan fee is applied to each unit of study. For example, if you are studying a unit that costs $1,000, the loan fee for that unit will be $200. Therefore, your total FEE-HELP debt for that unit will be $1,200.

The loan fee does NOT apply to:

  • undergraduate study (with a census date on or after 1 January 2019) if you are enrolled at a Table B provider (currently includes Avondale University, Bond University, University of Divinity and Torrens University Australia)
  • postgraduate study or enabling courses
  • undergraduate study through OUA
  • bridging study for overseas-trained professionals.

Expiration of the FEE-HELP Loan fee exemption

The FEE-HELP loan fee exemption expired on 1 January 2023. From this date, the 20 per cent loan fee applies to most students who pay for their undergraduate courses with a FEE-HELP loan.

Previously, a FEE-HELP loan fee exemption applied for units of study with census dates between 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2021. This exemption was extended until 31 December 2022 and applied retrospectively to remove loan fees from students' combined HELP debt statements for any units with a census date in 2022.

Support for Students Policy and Pass Rate Requirements

The Higher Education Support Act 2003 has been amended to remove the requirement that students must pass 50 per cent of their units they study to remain eligible for Commonwealth assistance (studying in a CSP or access to a HELP loans). Students enrolled in units of study with census dates on or after 1 January 2024 will not need to meet the pass rate requirements. However, pass rate requirements for students undertaking units of study through Open Universities Australia (OUA), that do not form part of a course, are still in place. This means they will not be eligible for FEE-HELP assistance where they have undertaken 8 or more units and failed more than 50 per cent of those units.

The amendments to HESA also introduced a requirement that higher education providers have policies to support students to successfully complete units of study in which they are enrolled. This amendment commences with a transitional period from 1 January 2024.