On 19 October 2020 the Australian Parliament passed legislation for the Job-ready Graduates Package (the package) of reforms to higher education. Changes proposed in this package affect student contributions and provide additional support for students in regional and remote Australia. The majority of these changes will commence on 1 January 2021.
We encourage both current and new students who will be studying from 1 January 2021 to talk to their current or intended higher education provider to confirm how these changes may affect their individual circumstances. Further information can be found on the Job-ready Graduates Package page.More information on the additional support for students in regional and remote areas, including the new Tertiary Access Payment and the guaranteed Commonwealth Supported places for Indigenous students can be found on the More opportunities for regional students page.
On this page:
- Remission of HELP debts for teachers in very remote areas of Australia
- Increase HELP loan limit for aviation courses
- Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) Charging Measures
- Higher Education Loan Program
- For students
- HELP for applicants/approved providers
- Release of new HELP data
- Tuition Protection and Provider Default
A qualified teacher, including an early childhood teacher, who relocates to a very remote area of Australia (using the ABS 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:
- a school providing primary or secondary education;
- a centre based day care service or
- a preschool
This initiative also applies to individuals currently teaching in a very remote area of Australia who remains 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 a very remote area of Australia are able to have indexation on their outstanding HELP debt waived while they remain teaching in that area. There is no length of service requirement for indexation waivers. This is available for eligible teachers from 14 February 2019.
Once teachers 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The combined Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan limit has been increased to $152,700 for students undertaking eligible aviation courses, with census dates after 1 January 2020.
The FEE-HELP Guidelines 2017 list the aviation courses eligible for the increased combined HELP loan limit.
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 commenced on 1 January 2020.
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.
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.
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.
- View information about student payments.
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.
- View available government loans for students.
Course Seeker is a national course comparison tool, where students can search over 8,000 courses and then compare up to four higher education courses at once. Deciding on a course and where to study can be a daunting experience. Course Seeker assists students by narrowing down course search results through filtering by ATAR, mode of study, study area or location.
ComparED helps Australians to make informed choices about their higher education study options by bringing together survey data from the higher education institutions about student’s experiences and graduate job outcomes. View over 100 higher education institutions and simultaneously compare up to six different institutions and/or study areas, focusing on student experiences, skill development, the teaching practices, employment outcomes, facilities and student support services.
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 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.
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.
What is tuition protection?
‘Tuition protection’ refers to the protections and assistance available to support FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP students, in the event that their education provider defaults (ceases delivering their course or closes entirely).
The Australian Government’s Tuition Protection Service (TPS) provides tuition protection assistance for domestic students accessing a FEE‑HELP or HECS‑HELP loan or a VET Student Loan at a private education provider, and international students.
If you are a FEE-HELP or HECS-HELP student whose private provider has closed or ceased delivering a course, you may be eligible to access tuition protection assistance. Please visit the TPS website for more information.
If you are an international student, or VSL student and would like information about the Tuition Protection Service, please visit the TPS website.
From 1 January 2020, the Australian Government has expanded the successful Tuition Protection Service (TPS) for international students to include similar protections for domestic students accessing a FEE‑HELP or HECS‑HELP loan at a private education provider.
All non-exempt FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP providers are required to participate in the Tuition Protection arrangements. The Tuition Protection arrangements impose obligations and requirements on providers; and provide support and protections for FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP students in the event their private education provider defaults.
The new tuition protection arrangements are sector-funded and underpinned by a sustainable provider levy framework. The levy framework - developed by the Australian Government Actuary - will cover the long-term costs of tuition protection by requiring all non-exempt FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP providers to contribute annual levies commensurate with their size and risk.
In the event of a provider default, eligible students will be supported to continue their studies in an equivalent or similar course or receive a loan re-credit for open units of study.
TAFEs and other Government-owned providers are exempt from the new tuition protection arrangements, with the exception of obligations relating to providing information about replacement courses and obligations of replacement providers. These providers are required to provide tuition protection support and assistance for students in the event they default. ‘Table A’ Universities are exempt from all tuition protection requirements.
FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP providers’ obligations continue when they act as replacement providers for students displaced under the Interim Tuition Assurance arrangements.
On 30 September the Minister for Education announced that the 2020 HELP Tuition Protection levy would be waived. The Australian Government will contribute an additional $3.6 million in seed funding in 2020 in lieu of the levy collection, to be repaid over time.
Further information for providers is available on the TPS website and in the Higher Education Administrative Information for Providers - March 2020 – Courses of Study.