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Loan repayment

How do I repay my HELP debt?

Your HELP debt includes any unpaid HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP, OS-HELP, SA-HELP and VET Student Loans (before 1 July 2019) debts.

From 1 July 2019 VET Student Loans debt was separated from HELP. Students studying through a VSL approved from that date will have a VSL debt.

You pay back your HELP debt through the tax system once you earn above the compulsory repayment threshold. The compulsory repayment threshold is different each year.

The compulsory repayment threshold for the 2020-21 income year is $46,620.

You can make a voluntary repayment to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) at any time.

How much will I repay?

The more you earn, the higher your repayment will be.

When you do your tax return, the ATO will calculate your income for the year and tell you how much your compulsory repayment is.


2020-2021 Repayment threshold Repayment % rate
Below $46,620 Nil
$46,620 - $53,826 1.0%
$53,827 - $57,055 2.0%
$57,056 - $60,479 2.5%
$60,480 - $64,108 3.0%
$64,109 - $67,954 3.5%
$67,955 - $72,031 4.0%
$72,032 - $76,354 4.5%
$76,355 - $80,935 5.0%
$80,936 - $85,792 5.5%
$85,793 - $90,939 6.0%
$90,940 - $96,396 6.5%
$96,397 - $102,179 7.0%
$102,180 - $108,309 7.5%
$108,310 - $114,707 8.0%
$114,708 - $121,698 8.5%
$121,699 - $128,999 9.0%
$129,000 - $136,739 9.5%
$136,740 and above 10.0%

Your renewable HELP balance and re-borrowing your repayments

Your HELP balance is renewable. Starting from the 2019-20 income year, any compulsory or voluntary HELP or VSL repayments made will top up a person's HELP balance. These repayments will be applied to a person's HELP balance after they have completed their 2019-20 tax return and been issued with a notice of assessment from the ATO. Repayments can be re-borrowed in the future, up to the current HELP loan limit. For more information on the new combined HELP loan limit and renewable HELP balance visit the combined HELP loan limit page.

I am making repayments, why aren't they showing?

While you might have weekly or fortnightly amounts coming out of your pay, the compulsory repayment on your HELP debt will only occur once you do your tax return.

What happens if I can’t afford repayments?

If making your compulsory repayment will cause you serious financial hardship, you can apply to the ATO to defer your repayment.

Can I cancel my HELP debt?

No. Once you have a HELP debt, you must repay it unless you meet 'special circumstances'.

What happens if I go bankrupt?

Your HELP debt does not disappear if you go bankrupt.

Repayments of your HELP debt will restart when you earn over the minimum repayment threshold.

What happens to my HELP debt if I die?

A deceased person will only make any compulsory HELP repayments for the period before their death. A trustee or executor will need to make these compulsory repayments.

The rest of the HELP debt is cancelled upon their death.

Gabriella is already repaying her HELP debt and will get another HELP loan to pay for her master's. Read her story.