Get a loan to pay your university or higher education fees: HELP loans

On 19 June 2020 the Australian Government announced the Job-ready Graduates Package (the package). 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, subject to the passage of legislation.

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 Australia page.

If you want to go to university or get a higher education, you might be able to get a loan to cover your tuition fees.

Tuition fees are what your education provider charges you for your course.

You can’t get this type of loan for other costs like accommodation, laptops or text books.

These loans are part of the HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP schemes.


Who can apply

You must be an Australian citizen.

You must plan to study at least part of your course in Australia.

You can still apply if you have an existing HELP debt.

You can get a loan for full-time or part-time study.


If you are from overseas

You might be able to get financial help to pay your university or higher education fees.

This includes permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand citizens.


What you can get

What you can get depends on whether your course is undergraduate, postgraduate or at a private education provider.

Ask your university or higher education provider if you’re not sure.

Undergraduate

Most people at university for the first time to study a bachelor degree are undergraduates.

Undergraduate courses:

  • diploma
  • advanced diploma
  • associate degree
  • bachelor degree
  • honours.

Postgraduate

Postgraduates have already finished a higher education qualification.

Postgraduate courses:

  • graduate certificate
  • graduate diploma
  • masters
  • PhD.

If you want to study from 2020: the HELP loan limit

There will be a cap on what you can borrow in government study and training loans from 1 January 2020. This is the HELP loan limit.

The limit to what you can borrow will be $104,440 for most students, and $150,000 for students studying medicine, dentistry and veterinary sciences.

Repayments increase your available HELP balance.  You can borrow more after you make repayments, up to the HELP limit.

If you already have a government study or training loan

If you have a HECS-HELP loan from before 2020, it will not count toward the limit.

FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP or VET Student Loans from before and after 2020 will add to the limit.


If you want to study as an undergraduate at a public university

If you are an undergraduate at a public university, you can get a loan to cover your tuition fees.

You can get a study place where the government pays part of your fees. This is a Commonwealth supported place.

You can choose to pay the rest of your tuition fees up front or get a loan from the government.

This type of support is a HECS-HELP loan.

How much you can borrow

There’s no limit to how much you can borrow with a HECS-HELP loan before 2020.

HECS-HELP will add toward the HELP loan limit to what you can borrow from 2020.


If you want to study as a postgraduate or at a private education provider

You can get a government loan to cover your tuition fees.

This type of support is a FEE-HELP loan.

How much you can borrow

There is a lifetime limit to how much you can borrow with a FEE-HELP loan. The HELP loan limit will replace this in 2020.

Under limited circumstances you might be able to get a study place where the government pays part of your fees. This is a Commonwealth supported place.

Ask your provider if you can get a Commonwealth supported place and HECS-HELP.


How your loan is repaid

Repayments are taken out of what you earn through the tax system.

Read more about how your HELP loan repayments are made including how much you will need to pay each year.


How to apply

To get financial help with your university or higher education tuition fees, speak to your education provider.

They will tell you what you can get and how to apply.

You will need to fill in a form to request a HELP loan.

You must submit the form to your education provider.

If you decide to apply for a HELP loan, you will need a tax file number.

Updated 19 June 2020


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