HECS-HELP: Study now, pay later
Posted July 10, 2015, by Career FAQs team
What is HECS-HELP?
The HECS-HELP scheme provides you with access to a loan to help you pay your student contribution amount, with the added incentive of a discount for upfront payment of your tuition fees.
Am I eligible?
- Be studying in a subsidised enrolment at university – known as a Commonwealth Supported Place.
- Be an Australian citizen or permanent humanitarian visa holder.
- Enrol with an approved provider, by the census date.
When do I starting paying back my loan?
You’ll start repaying your HELP debt once your taxable income reaches the compulsory repayment threshold. This threshold is adjusted every year.
The threshold for 2019-20 is $45,881.
Is there anything else I need to know?
HECS-HELP debts don’t incur interest, but are indexed each year in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
The indexation rate is currently 1.5% (reviewed and updated annually in March)
|2019-2020 Repayment rates|
|2019-2020 Repayment rates||Repayment % rate|
|$45,881 – $52,973||1.0%|
|$52,974 – $56,151||2.0%|
|$56,152 – $63,092||2.5%|
|$63,093 – $66,877||3.0%|
|$66,878 – $70,890||3.5%|
|$75,145 – $79,652||4.5%|
|$79,653 – $84,432||5.0%|
|$84,433 – $89,498||5.5%|
|$89,499 – $94,868||6.5%|
|$94,869 – $100,560||7.0%|
|$100,561 – $106,593||7.5%|
|$106,594 – $112,989||8.0%|
|$112,990 – $119,769||8.5%|
|$119,770 – $126,955||9.0%|
|$126,956 – $134,572||9.5%|
|$134,573 and above||10%|
How do I apply for HECS-HELP?
To apply for a HECS-HELP loan you must complete the Commonwealth Assistance Form (CAF) as part of your enrolment process in your chosen course.
A CAF is a Commonwealth Assistance Form and the electronic version of this form is called an eCAF. If you are in a Commonwealth Supported Place, this form is not optional. You must complete a CAF form even if you are paying your student contribution fees upfront or they are covered by a scholarship.
You do not need to apply before enrolling in your course, you complete the form and make the application after you have been offered a place.
Your application for HECS-HELP must be completed before the census date for your period of study.
What is the census date and why is it important?
The census date is when the University finalises your enrolment. Each unit of study has its own census date which means you are charged progressively for your course fees as you move through your studies, rather than one upfront payment.
The census date is super important because it is the legal deadline for withdrawing from the course. Withdraw after this time and you’ll still incur a debt, even if you don’t finish or get your qualification.
Make sure you confirm with your course provider when your census date it as mark it IMPORTANT in big red letters in your calendar!
Can I make voluntary payments?
Yes, you can make a voluntary repayment on your HECS-HELP loan to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) at any time.
As of 2017, there is no longer a discount on any voluntary debt repayments you choose to make.
How can I check how much I owe?
You can find out the current balance of your HECS-HELP debt at any stage throughout your studies either online using the ATO service on MyGov, or by giving the ATO a call.
Can my HECS-HELP debt ever be wiped out?
There are certain circumstances, like facing serious financial hardship, where you may be eligible to have part of your HECS-HELP debt cancelled, or the payments placed on hold.
You need to apply to the ATO to defer your payments or reduce them.
If you didn’t finish your course or failed a subject due to special circumstances – like serious illness – it is possible to apply to your course provider to have the debt for that unit of study cancelled.
To get started with your HECS-HELP application, or for more information, you can head to the StudyAssist website.
Browse through our range of online courses that are covered by HECS-HELP.