Cancel your HELP debt under special circumstances

You can apply to your education provider to cancel your HELP debt in rare circumstances.

For instance, if you are sick, injured or some other event stopped you from finishing a unit.

This is known as special circumstances or special consideration.

You will need to prove all of the following:

  • you had no control over the event, for instance you were sick or injured
  • the full impact of the event was after the deadline to withdraw from study — the census date
  • the event was serious enough to stop you from finishing your study.

You can’t get a refund for a unit that you passed.

How to cancel your debt

To apply to cancel a debt you will need to contact the student administration area of your education provider.

You must do this within a year of:

  • the day you withdrew from a unit
  • if you didn’t withdraw, the last day of the study period you were enrolled in.

You will need to provide evidence to prove you couldn’t finish your study.

You will also need to show why you couldn’t withdraw by the census date.

How long it takes

It typically takes three to six months for a provider to decide whether your debt can be cancelled.

If your education provider decides your debt can be cancelled

Once your provider makes a decision, it can take up to six months for your debt to be cancelled.

To find out if your debt has been cancelled contact your education provider.

If your education provider decides your debt can’t be cancelled

You can appeal if your education provider decides not to cancel your debt.

First you must ask your provider for an internal review. You must do this within 28 days of their decision.

If you don’t agree with the outcome of the internal review you can ask your provider for an external review.

You can also ask the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to review the decision.

How to apply for a review

Ask your provider what you need to do.

Read more about what the AAT can do for you.

Updated 25 June 2018

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