When you attend university and participate in a Startup Year course, you can get a STARTUP-HELP loan to pay for your studies.

A Startup Year course is an accelerator program course designed to develop a person’s skills, capabilities and connections for the purposes of startup businesses. For information on the Startup Year Program, please visit https://www.education.gov.au/higher-education-loan-program/startup-year(Opens in a new tab/window).

A STARTUP-HELP loan does not cover costs such as accommodation, laptops, textbooks or capital for startup businesses. A STARTUP-HELP loan is used to help you pay the course fees for a Startup Year course.

For more information, view the below fact sheet:

Note: The STARTUP-HELP loan is different to a Student Start-up Loan, which is administered by Services Australia. If you are interested in applying for a Student Start-up Loan, please visit https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/student-start-up-loan(Opens in a new tab/window).


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

To get a STARTUP-HELP loan, you must:

  • be one of the following:
    • an Australian citizen; or
    • a permanent humanitarian visa holder (or eligible former permanent humanitarian visa holder) who will live in Australia for the entire Startup Year course; or
    • a New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holder (or permanent resident who was former eligible NZ SCV holder) who meets the long-term residency requirements and who will live in Australia for the entire Startup Year course;
    • a pacific engagement visa (PEV) holder who is resident in Australia for the entire Startup Year course (note: a PEV holder becomes eligible from 1 February 2024)
  • be either:
    • a student in the final year of an undergraduate course of study; or
    • enrolled in a postgraduate course of study; or
    • a recent student who completed a bachelor degree (or higher level qualification) no more than 36 months before commencing the Startup Year course;
  • be enrolled in a Startup Year course at an Australian University or University College on or before the census date, and remain enrolled at the end of the census date;
  • be selected by your provider to receive a STARTUP-HELP loan;
  • be primarily studying on an Australian campus;
  • submit the Request for a STARTUP-HELP loan form (known as the STARTUP-HELP eCAF) on or before the census date;
  • not have received a STARTUP-HELP loan more than once before;
  • meet the tax file number (TFN) requirements – you can start your application for a TFN now at www.ato.gov.au/individuals-and-families/tax-file-number/apply-for-a-tfn(Opens in a new tab/window);
  • meet the Unique Student Identifier (USI) requirements; and
  • be assessed as a genuine student and as academically suitable for your course.

Applying for a STARTUP-HELP loan

To apply for a STARTUP-HELP loan, you will need:

You must submit the Request for a STARTUP-HELP loan form to your provider on or before the census date. You can only get the Request for a STARTUP-HELP loan form from your provider once you have accepted your offer in the course.

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