Transitioning to tertiary study

Top tips for transitioning to tertiary study

Five of the best

  1. Get a TFN early!
    • If you want to use a HELP loan to pay for your study, you must submit your valid TFN (or valid Certificate of application for a TFN) by the census date. Otherwise, you will not be able to use a loan for that study period.
    • If you do not have a TFN yet because you do not have a job, you must apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website (opens in a new window) for one.
    • Keep your TFN secure and treat it like your bank pin. HELP debts are recorded against your TFN so you must be sure about who you're giving your TFN out to.
  2. Be aware of your obligations.
    • Find out your census date(s). Census dates are critical to requesting Commonwealth assistance/finalising your payment arrangements so that your enrolment is not cancelled. See Deadlines and withdrawals for more information.
    • Find out your provider’s policy for contacting students. If its policy is to contact you by an in-house email system (e.g. a student mail account), it is your responsibility to check your email on a regular basis, either on campus or at your local public library. If you cannot access Commonwealth assistance or your enrolment is cancelled because you missed the census date, claiming you did not have access to email or being unaware you had to check your email are not acceptable excuses.
    • Find out your provider’s academic probation policy. If you are not progressing satisfactorily in your course your provider may choose to cancel your enrolment, regardless of whether you have already incurred a HELP debt or made an upfront payment for that study.
    • If you are undertaking a Vocational Education and Training (VET) course, you must ensure that you have registered for a Unique Student Identifier (USI) at (Opens in a new window).
  3. You are responsible for your own education.
    • Due to privacy requirements, providers cannot disclose information to your spouse, parent or anyone else about your payment details, HELP loan or VET Student Loan, attendance or other personal matters.
    • If you remain enrolled in a unit past the census date but choose not to attend any classes or hand in any assignments your provider is not obligated to find out why. You will incur the full student contribution amount/tuition fee or HELP debt for that unit.
  4. Know who to ask for help.
    • Your provider is your number one source of information for study-related queries. Student administration staff will be able to assist you with all enrolment and administration matters, or will direct you to the appropriate area.
  5. Get involved!
    • Most providers offer an orientation service for new students in additional to social events and various clubs. Participating in these events are great ways to learn your way around, meet new people and build a support network.
    • If you are studying online or by distance social media pages, blogs and online discussion groups are excellent avenues for connecting with fellow students.
  6. Return to top

Higher ed or VET?

The difference

Have you decided what type of qualification you would like to obtain? Do you know what the difference is between a degree and a certificate? Please refer to the Courses and Qualifications page for more information.

Choosing a course - Higher education
The Australian Government’s MyUniversity website (opens in a new window) provides students with a broad range of information about Australian universities and other higher education providers (providers). Once you have decided what field of study you are interested in, you can use the MyUniversity course and university search tools to finalise your decision about which course to study, and which providers offer the course. MyUniversity also provides information on whether you need to apply directly with the provider or through a Tertiary Admissions Centre (such as UAC, QTAC etc).

Tertiary Admissions Centres also provide information on courses available in your state and ATAR/OP requirements for each higher education course.

Other pathways into higher education
It is important to remember that if you do not meet the prerequisites for the course you are interested in, you may be able to gain entry via an alternative pathway (such as completing a vocational education or training (VET) course or a foundation/preparatory course first). You can talk to a career advisor or student administrator at your provider for more information.

Vocational education and training
Visit the My Skills (opens in new window) website to search for, and compare, VET courses and training providers.

Return to top

How to pay for your study

Payment notes

The amount of fees you pay for your course depends on a range of factors, including the type of student you are (international or domestic), the type of course you are undertaking (e.g. Bachelor, Master, Diploma etc) and the type of provider you are attending (public university, private provider, VET provider etc. and whether your enrolment is subsidised by the Australian Government or a state or territory government.

If you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen or the holder of a permanent visa, you are a domestic student and may be eligible for Commonwealth assistance for higher education study. Australian citizens, some New Zealand citizens and permanent humanitarian visa holders may be eligible for loans for study. You can find more information on the Help Paying My Fees page.

If you do not hold Australian or New Zealand citizenship or a permanent visa you are an international student. International students are usually charged a higher rate than domestic students and are not eligible for a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) or to access any of the HELP loans or VET Student Loans to pay their tuition fees. If you are an international student, please read the information on the International Students page.

Additional financial support
Some students may be eligible for income support or financial support during their studies. Please see Student Income Support and Scholarships and Awards for more information.

If you are not eligible for a HELP loan or for any additional support on the pages above, you should check with your provider whether they offer any scholarships, payment plans or in-house student loans that you may be eligible for.

Return to top

First in your family to go to uni? Check out the First in Family website

First in Family

The First in Family (opens in a new window) website is designed to assist current and intending university students who are the first in their immediate family to go to university, in addition to supporting their families, and those who work within the higher education sector. The dedicated resources on the website are designed to ensure a successful transition into the university environment.