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HELP and VSL changes

28 June 2019

In August 2018, the Australian Government announced a number of changes to student loans. These include a new lower minimum repayment threshold, an increase to the FEE-HELP loan limit, a combined, renewable loan limit, and removal of a loan fee for some students.

The following changes will apply:

Removal of FEE-HELP loan fee for Table B providers

From 1 January 2019, students studying an undergraduate course at Bond University, the University of Notre Dame Australia, Torrens University or the University of Divinity will no longer be charged the 25 per cent FEE-HELP loan fee.

This only applies to units of study with a census date on or after 1 January 2019.


Increase to the FEE-HELP loan limit for 2019

From 1 January 2019, the upper FEE-HELP loan limit increased substantially.

The loan limit increased from $127,992 to $150,000 for students studying medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses.

The loan limit for all other students is $104,440.


A new set of repayment thresholds

From 1 July 2019, the new minimum HELP repayment threshold will be $45,881 with a one per cent repayment rate.

At a repayment rate of just one per cent, an employee earning $45,881 per annum will pay less than $9 per week

The top threshold of $134,573 will have a ten per cent repayment rate.

For information on the new repayment thresholds, please see Paying Back My Loan on the Study Assist website.


Combined, renewable HELP loan limit

Combined HELP loan limit
From 1 January 2020, a combined HELP loan limit will replace the FEE-HELP limit and will include HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Student Loans.

Only new HECS-HELP loans incurred from 1 January 2020 will be counted towards the limit.

Any existing FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP or VET Student Loans taken out prior to 2020 will count towards your new HELP balance.


Renewable HELP balance
From 1 January 2020, you can top up your HELP balance by making repayments on your debt.

Repayments starting from the 2019-20 income year will top up a person's HELP balance.

Any compulsory or voluntary repayments can be re-borrowed in the future, up to the current HELP loan limit.

From 1 January 2020, the FEE-HELP loan limit will become the combined HELP loan limit and a person's FEE-HELP balance will become their HELP balance.

For information on the new combined, renewable HELP loan limit, please see 2020 loan limit changes on the Study Assist website.


[All of these changes were implemented through passage of the Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment (Student Loan Sustainability) Act 2018].