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When you attend university or an approved higher education provider, you can get a HECS-HELP loan to pay for your studies. You can only get a HECS-HELP loan if you are enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place (CSP).

A HECS-HELP loan does not cover costs like accommodation, laptops or text books.


Your provider will assess your eligibility for a HECS-HELP loan against the criteria below. If you have any questions, please contact your provider.

To get a HECS-HELP loan, you must:

  • be studying in a Commonwealth supported place
  • be an Australian citizen and meet the residency requirements (you must 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
  • submit the Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP form to your provider by the census date
  • be enrolled in each unit/subject at your provider by the census date
  • have available HELP balance.

How much can I borrow?

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 2021, the HELP loan limit is $108,232. If you plan to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary science leading to initial registration, or eligible aviation courses the HELP loan limit is $155,448.

Your HELP balance is renewable. Any compulsory or voluntary HELP or VSL debt 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 HELP 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 combined HELP loan limit, please visit the 2020 loan limit changes page.


To apply for a HECS-HELP loan, you will need a tax file number (TFN) and a Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP  form, which your university or higher education provider will give you.

Your form must be filled in and submitted to your provider before the census date (or administrative date).