Acronyms and Glossary

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A

  • Accumulated HELP debt

    The consolidated total of any HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, OS-HELP, SA-HELP, VET Student Loans or VET FEE-HELP debts you have incurred (including any Government loans for study incurred before 2005).

  • Administrative date

    A date (before the census date) set by your approved provider for various requirements, including submitting your Request for Commonwealth assistance form or your Australian Government electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF), making any up-front payments of your student contributions or tuition fees and formally withdrawing from any units. You can still submit your form or withdraw from a course after the administrative date (but before the census date) but you may have to pay a late enrolment/withdrawal fee.

  • Approved course provider

    A registered training organisation approved by the Australian Government whose eligible students can access VET Student Loans for approved courses.

  • Approved provider

    A university, other accredited higher education institution or a Vocational Education Training (VET) provider that has been approved by the Australian Government to offer Commonwealth assistance (HELP loans or Commonwealth supported places) to its students.

  • Articulation arrangements

    A formal agreement between two programs, normally with different providers, for admission to a course of study with advanced standing. The arrangements may include transfer of credit, including the recognition of prior learning; admissions criteria; and a combination or linking of study programs.

  • Assessing authority

    A professional body that can assess overseas qualifications. The assessing authority will issue an assessment statement identifying whether an overseas-trained professional must complete further study in order to practice their profession in Australia.

  • Assessment statement

    An assessment statement lists the studies, examinations and/or tuition and training programs that an overseas-trained professional must complete in order to meet the requirements to practise their profession in Australia.

  • ATAR

    The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a rank that allows the comparison of students who have completed different combinations of HSC (or equivalent) courses. It is used by institutions (except those in Queensland) to rank and select students for admission to tertiary courses. Other selection criteria maybe used together with the ATAR.

  • Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

    The ATO is the Federal Government's main revenue collection agency. The ATO is responsible for managing HELP debt repayments.

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B

  • Bridging study for overseas-trained professionals

    Bridging study for overseas-trained professional is specific study undertaken in Australia by those with an overseas qualification so they can meet the professional recognition requirements for practising in Australia.

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C

  • Census date

    Deadline for various requirements, including submitting your Request for Commonwealth assistance form or eCAF, making any up-front payments of your student contributions or tuition fees and formally withdrawing from any units.

  • Commonwealth assistance notice (CAN)

    Notice from your approved provider issued after the census date detailing information about the Commonwealth assistance you have used for the study period.

  • Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN)

    Your unique identification number as a person studying in a Commonwealth supported place or accessing a HELP loan.

  • Commonwealth supported place

    A place at an approved provider that is subsidised by the Australian Government so that students only have to pay 'student contribution' amounts for their study.

  • Commonwealth supported student

    A student who is enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place at an approved provider. Most domestic students who study their undergraduate degree at university do so as Commonwealth supported students.

  • Compulsory repayment

    Repayments that people with a HELP debt are required to make once their income exceeds the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment set by the ATO for the relevant financial year.

  • Compulsory repayment thresholds

    You have to start repaying your HELP debt through the taxation system once your repayment income is above the compulsory repayment threshold, even if you are still studying. Repayment income is calculated from the amounts given on your income tax return for: * your taxable income; * reportable fringe benefits (reported on your payment summary); * total net investment loss (which includes net rental loss); * reportable super contributions; and * exempt foreign employment income amounts

  • Course of study

    Studies leading to a higher education award (e.g. a Bachelor degree), or a VET accredited award (e.g. a diploma qualification).

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D

  • Distance education

    A mode of study where students can undertake a course of study 'off-campus'. The students generally complete their course online.

  • Domestic fee paying student

    A domestic student who is not enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place. Fee paying students pay tuition fees. Fee paying students can also be known as ‘non-Commonwealth supported students'.

  • Domestic student

    A student who is an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen or the holder of a permanent visa.

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E

  • Eligible unit of study

    A unit that is part of a course of study leading to a VET award at the diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate or graduate diploma level undertaken through an approved provider.

  • Enabling course

    An enabling course is a course of instruction provided to a person for the purpose of enabling that person to undertake a course leading to a higher education qualification (e.g. Bachelor degree).

  • Equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL)

    How the study load for students is measured. One EFTSL is the study load, for a year, of a student undertaking their course on a full-time basis.

  • External student

    A mode of attendance where the student is studying a course where regular attendance is not required and lesson materials etc. are delivered to the student. These students generally complete their study 'off-campus' via online.

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F

  • Fee paying place

    A place in a course which is not a Commonwealth supported place (i.e. not subsidised by the Australian Government) and for which tuition fees are payable. Students enrolled in a fee paying place pay tuition fees.

  • Fee paying student

    A student who is enrolled in a fee paying place and who pays tuition fees for their course at an approved provider.

  • FEE-HELP

    Australian Government loan program to help eligible fee paying students pay their tuition fees.

  • FEE-HELP balance

    The amount of FEE-HELP you have left to use before reaching the FEE-HELP limit.

  • FEE-HELP limit

    The maximum amount of FEE-HELP and/or VET Student Loans and/or VET FEE-HELP you can use over your lifetime. The FEE-HELP limit is indexed annually on 1st January.

  • Field of education

    Field of Education is defined as the subject matter of an educational activity and it is categorised according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED). ASCED is a statistical classification for use in the collection and analysis of data on educational activity and attainment. It is useful to describe higher education courses, specialisations and units of study with the same or similar emphasis.

  • Flexible learning

    A type of course that caters for a range of different learning styles and needs through various access opportunities (face to face, distance, intense attendance modules) and learning modes.

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G

  • Government electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF)

    The Government’s online system for students to request a HELP loan or a VET Student Loan. It provides students with a secure and easily accessible way to complete application forms for these loan programs. The Request for VET Student Loans eCAF is the name of the eCAF used for eligible VET students to access VET Student Loans. As part of Government's stronger compliance measures, students will use the Government eCAF to log in (after 1 July 2017) to demonstrate they are engaged with their training. Confirmation of engagement will occur at the beginning of at least two fee periods to demonstrate engagement with their course and understanding of the loan accrual for that fee period.

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H

  • HECS-HELP

    Australian Government loan program to help eligible Commonwealth supported students to pay their student contribution amounts. Before 2005 this was known as ‘HECS’.

  • HECS-HELP Benefit

    A reduction in accumulated HELP debt or a compulsory repayment for eligible graduate. The Benefit aims to encourage particular graduates to take up employment in related occupations or to work in specified locations. Please note that the HECS-HELP Benefit will be removed from 1 June 2017.

  • Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)

    Australian Government loan program to help eligible students pay their overseas study expenses (OS-HELP), student contributions (HECS-HELP) and tuition fees (FEE-HELP or VET Student Loans - VET FEE-HELP ceased on 31 December 2016). These loans are repaid through the tax system.

  • Higher education provider

    An organisation established by, or recognised by, the Commonwealth, a State or Territory. Providers must be approved by the Australian government to offer Commonwealth Supported places or HELP loans to eligible students.

  • Higher education ranking

    Your higher education ranking reflects your performance in comparison to the performance of other students in your state. In all states and territories except Queensland, the higher education ranking is known as the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). In Queensland, it is known as the Overall Position (OP) rank.

  • Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA)

    The legislation that outlines the administrative requirements behind the Commonwealth Supported places and the Higher Education Loan Program. These administrative requirements are also set out in various guidelines that sit under HESA.

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I

  • Incidental fees

    Fees that are in addition to your student contributions or tuition fees and which are for goods or services that are related to your studies. e.g. textbooks

  • International student

    Any student who is not a domestic student.

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N

  • National priority area

    The Commonwealth offers additional assistance for courses in national priority areas, either through offering additional Commonwealth supported places, increasing Commonwealth contributions or reducing the maximum student contribution amounts for a place. Currently, education and nursing are the key National Priority areas.

  • New Zealand Special Category Visa Holder (SCV)

    If you arrived in Australia using a New Zealand passport, in the absence of another valid Australian visa, you will have automatically received a Special Category Visa (SCV) provided you met certain security, character and health requirements. It is a temporary visa that expires as soon as you leave Australia, but remains in place for as long as you remain in Australia. If you are a New Zealand citizen and hold a SCV, you may be able to access HELP loans, providing you meet all of the following requirements: first began to be usually resident in Australia at least 10 years before the test day* and at that time, you were a dependent child under the age of 18 with no spouse or de facto partner; and * have been in Australia for at least: - A total of 8 out of the last 10 years immediately before the test day*; and - A total of 18 months out of the last 2 years immediately before the test day. * are otherwise eligible for a HELP loan. NZ SCV Residency requirements You must provide evidence to your provider, on or before the census date, that you first began residing in Australia as a minor at least 10 years before the test day. *‘test day’ means the first day you successfully applied for a HELP loan as an eligible NZ SCV holder for a unit that formed part of the same course of study. If you have not previously applied for a HELP loan for a unit that forms part of your course of study then the ‘test day’ is the date you submit this form. Specific enquiries about the SCV, and other visas, should be directed to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (www.border.gov.au).

  • Non-award course

    If a student is enrolled with a provider in a subject or unit that may be undertaken as part of a course of study; course of instruction; tuition and training program; but the unit, course or program is not being undertaken as part of a course of study, then the enrolment is on a non-award basis. A subject unit leading to a higher education qualification or a VET accredited qualification.

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O

  • On-Campus student

    A mode of attendance where the student physically attends the higher education provider on a regular basis, to attend lectures and tutorials to complete their course.

  • OP rank

    The Overall Position (OP) is a tertiary entrance ranking system used in Queensland. It is used instead of the ATAR.

  • OS-HELP

    Australian Government loan program to help eligible undergraduate Commonwealth supported students pay their overseas study expenses.

  • OS-HELP debt confirmation form

    The form that you must submit to your provider to apply for an OS-HELP loan.

  • Overseas student

    Any student who is not a domestic student.

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P

  • Permanent humanitarian visa holder

    A person who holds a visa of one of the subclasses listed in the permanent humanitarian visa sub-class list.

  • Permanent visa holder

    A person who holds a visa of one of the subclasses listed in the permanent visa sub-class list.

  • Postgraduate course

    A course of study accredited at the postgraduate level and leads to the award of Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Master degree or Doctoral degree

  • Provider

    An institution or organisation that provides an education service. e.g. a university or private higher education provider or registered training organisation etc.

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R

  • Re-credited

    Where your FEE-HELP balance is re-credited by your provider because you meet the special circumstances criteria.

  • Registered training organisation (RTO)

    A training organisation that has been approved by the State Government or the Australian Skills Quality Agency (ASQA) to provide vocational education and training (VET) courses.

  • Remission

    Where your HELP debt is removed by your provider because you meet the special circumstances criteria.

  • Repayment threshold

    The income level above which you are required to make a compulsory repayment on your accumulated HELP debt.

  • Request for a Commonwealth supported place and a HECS-HELP loan

    The form you must submit to your provider to accept an offer of a CSP. Eligible students also use this form to apply for a HECS-HELP loan.

  • Request for a FEE-HELP assistance form

    The form you must submit to your approved provider to apply for a FEE-HELP loan as a student.

  • Request for a FEE-HELP Open Universities Australia (OUA) form

    The form you must submit to OUA to apply for a FEE-HELP loan as a student studying through OUA

  • Request for VET Student Loan eCAF

    The online system for students to request a VET Student Loan. It provides students with a secure and easily accessible way to complete application forms for VET Student loans (see Government electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) description above).

  • Residential school

    You may be required to attend a residential school if you are completing a distance or online course. This provides block of time in which you attend classes with other students doing your course.

  • Rules

    The VET Student Loans Rules 2016, is the legislative instrument made under the VET Student Loans Act 2016 that sets out detailed requirements for the VET Student Loans program. It is available at: www.legislation.gov.au/Series/F2016L02030.

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S

  • SA-HELP

    Australian Government loan program to help eligible higher education students pay their student services and amenities fees.

  • Special circumstances

    Specific requirements set out in the Higher Education Support Act 2003 and its associated guidelines that you must meet, and provide evidence that these circumstances exist, to have your HELP debt removed (and your FEE-HELP balance re-credited if applicable).

  • Student contribution amount

    The amount of fees a Commonwealth supported student must pay for their studies.

  • Student entry procedure

    An approved course provider’s procedure to ensure that a student is academically suited to undertake an approved course.

  • Student learning entitlement (SLE)

    The student learning entitlement (SLE) system was used to measure the timeframe that an eligible student could be enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place. SLE has been abolished from 1 January 2012. Thereis no longer be a limit on the amount study a person can undertake as a Commonwealth support student.

  • Subsidised (VET) student

    A student whose enrollment is subsidised by a state or territory government and who is enrolled in a vocational education and training (VET) accredited course at an approved course provider.

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T

  • Tax file number (TFN)

    Your unique identification number from the Australian Taxation Office for everything tax related, including making HELP debt repayments.

  • Tertiary Admissions Centre (TAC)

    A state based central office that receives and processes applications for admission into tertiary courses offered by participating tertiary educational institutions (universities and other tertiary institutions) and calculates and provides the state-based tertiary admissions rankings.

  • Tuition fees

    Fees that fee paying students (i.e. those not enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place) are charged. These fees are set by individual providers.

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U

  • Undergraduate course

    A course of study accredited at the undergraduate level and leads to the award of a diploma, advanced diploma, associate degree or a bachelor degree (pass, honours or graduate entry).

  • USI (Unique Student Identifier)

    Your unique reference number for undertaking a vocational education and training course made up of 10 numbers and letters that creates a secure online record of your recognised training and qualifications gained in Australia.

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V

  • VET FEE-HELP

    An Australian Government program that provided loans to help eligible students enrolled in higher-level VET courses (Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Vocational Graduate Certificate or Vocational Graduate Diploma) pay their tuition fees. The VET FEE-HELP loan scheme ceased on 31 December 2016. Some continuing students may continue to access the loan scheme under the transitional arrangements.

  • VET Student Loans Fee Notice

    An invoice notice that approved course providers must send to you, if you have requested a VET Student Loan, for each fee period, at least 14 days prior to the first census day in the fee period.

  • VET Student Loans program

    The Australian Government loan program established by the VET Student Loans Act 2016 that assists eligible students enrolled in approved higher level vocational education and training courses at approved course providers pay their tuition fees.

  • VET Student Loans Statement of Covered Fees

    A statement issued to you by your approved course provider that provides details of the total course fee and how much will be covered by the loan amount. This statement may be included in your first VET Student Loans Fee Notice.

  • Voluntary repayment

    You can make a voluntary repayment of your accumulated HELP debt to the ATO at any time and for any amount. Voluntary repayments are in addition to compulsory repayments and are not refundable.

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