HELP and other Information

For: 

The Australian Government provides financial assistance to students through the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), which consists of five different loan schemes.

Remission of HELP debts for teachers in very remote areas of Australia

A qualified teacher, including an early childhood teacher, who relocates to a very remote area (using the ASGS Remote Structure) on or after the start of the 2019 school year, and remains teaching for at least four years in six, may be eligible to have their outstanding HELP debt remitted.

To be eligible, individuals must be engaged as a teacher at any of the following:

  • an early childhood education and care service that includes a preschool education program
  • a preschool
  • a school providing primary or secondary education.

This initiative also applies to indiviuals currently teaching in a very remote area of Australia who remain for a further four years. Service prior to the start of the 2019 school year will not count towards the four‑year requirement.

Teachers working in very remote schools are able to have indexation on their outstanding HELP debt waived while they remain teaching in that location. There is no length of service requirement for indexation waivers. This is available for eligible teachers from 14 February 2019. Once they are no longer teaching in a very remote area, indexation on any remaining HELP debt will recommence.

Further information can be found on the Remission of Higher Education Loan Program debts for teachers page, or by contacting veryremotehelp@education.gov.au

Increase HELP loan limit for aviation courses

The combined Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan limit will be increased to $150,000 for students undertaking eligible aviation courses at a VET Student Loans (VSL) approved provider, from 1 January 2020.

This 2019-20 Federal Budget measure is subject to the passage of legislation.

Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) Charging Measures

In line with the Australian Government Charging Framework, the Government introduced two HELP Charging Measures in the 2019-20 Federal Budget. The HELP Charging Measures allow for higher education providers, who utilise Commonwealth funding, to contribute to the maintenance and operation of HELP arrangements. The HELP Charging Measures ensure consistency and fairness across the higher education sector.

Legislation received passage through Parliament on 15 October 2019. The charges commence on 1 January 2020

.Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)

HELP provides assistance for students to pay their student contributions (HECS-HELP), tuition fees (FEE-HELP, overseas study expenses (OS-HELP) and student service and amenities fees (SA-HELP).

Education Providers can get information on how to apply to become approved to offer FEE‑HELP to their eligible students; and approved HELP providers can access a range of important support materials.

For students

Moving from school to tertiary education is a big step, and many students can find the transition difficult.

There are many aspects of tertiary education that are different to studying at high school and you need to make sure you understand all the financial support and services available to you, and the requirements you must fulfill before you begin. For detailed information about the types of support and services available, visit the Study Assist website.

Student payments

There are a range of means-tested payments available to support eligible students who are undertaking, or who are planning to undertake, approved study or an Australian Apprenticeship.

Government loans for students

The Australian Government provides financial assistance through five different HELP schemes to assist students with the cost of their tuition. The right loan for you will depend on your circumstances, eligibility and where you want to study.

HELP for applicants/approved providers

Providers can apply to become approved to offer FEE-HELP  to eligible students.

FEE-HELP is for eligible fee-paying students enrolled in an accredited higher education course, such as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, to pay all or part of their tuition fees.

For detailed information about schedule and estimates, provider withdrawal processes, funding clusters and indexed rates, statistics and data reporting, ongoing financial requirements and access to the HELP IT System (HITS), providers can review either the Approved HEP information.

For new information about HELP and any changes to the program, providers can keep up to date with the HELP Noticeboard.

Our HELP Resources for providers include newsletters, the HITS user guides, legislation, guidelines and administrative documents.

Providers can also email the appropriate line area within the department by reviewing the Contact Us page.

Release of new HELP data

The department regularly reports a range of key statistics on HELP, including the Higher Education Statistics Collection on this website.

In conjunction with the Australian Taxation Office, the department has recently released further high-level statistics relating to HELP debts and repayments.

Tuition Protection for FEE-HELP or HECS-HELP from 2020

The Australian Government is committed to protecting student tuition and is expanding the successful Tuition Protection Service (TPS) for international students on 1 January 2020 to domestic students accessing a VET Student Loan (VSL), or FEE-HELP or HECS-HELP at a private education provider.

Private education and training providers are to pay levies, commensurate with their size and risk, to sector specific funds. The funds will be used to assist students affected by a provider default and who cannot complete their course because the provider fails to provide a course or a part of a course to the student.

The department will assist students affected by a provider default by:

  • working to identify if there is a course with another provider that is suitable for the student to complete their qualification, and if there is, provide assistance to enrol with the provider
  • where there is no suitable course or the student chooses to be re-credited, the department will arrange a re-credit of a student’s loan balance for units of study commenced but not completed.

The new tuition protection arrangements are established by the Education Legislation Amendment (Tuition Protection and Other Measures) Act 2019, which was passed by Parliament on 5 December 2019. The Higher Education Support (HELP Tuition Protection Levy) Bill 2019 introduces the levy model which will fund the scheme. The Bill is expected to pass through the Senate in early 2020.

Further information about tuition protection.