HECS-HELP Loan Explained

HECS is short for Higher Education Contribution Scheme, which is a loan a university student can get from the government if you are enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP). The loan can be used to pay your tuition fees, but not accommodation, laptops or textbooks.

Not everyone is eligible for the HECS-HELP loan. To be eligible you must:

  • Be enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP)
  • Be an Australian citizen or a New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV)
  • Submit the Request for Commonwealth Support and HECS-HELP form to your university before the census date
  • Be enrolled in each of the units before census date*.
  • Not have exceeded your HELP loan limit.

There is a limit to the amount of combined HELP loans that you can borrow, including FEE-HELP & HECS-HELP. For 2020, the HELP loan limit is $106,319. For those studying medicine, dentistry or veterinary science, or eligible aviation courses the HELP loan limit is $152,700.

Your HELP balance is renewable. You can check your balance on myHELPbalance by using your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN), a unique identifying number.

To apply for HECS-HELP you will need a tax file number (TFN) and complete and submit a Request for Commonwealth Support and HECS-HELP, which your university will provide, before the census date*.

You will need to repay your debt to the government with interest when you start working and earn above a certain threshold. This is done through the tax system. The compulsory repayment threshold is different each year. For the 2020-21 income year, the threshold is $46,620. The more you earn, the higher the repayments will be as well (but you will need to worry about this when you start working๐Ÿ˜‰).

Make sure to contact your university or visit their website to get the exact details and HECS-HELP form.

*The last day you can withdraw from a subject without financial or academic penalties.

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