Student contribution amounts

What is a student contribution amount?

Even though the Australia Government subsidises Commonwealth supported places, students still have to make a payment towards their education and this is known as the ‘student contribution’ amount.

Students enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place will either pay their student contributions upfront, or if eligible, can access the HECS-HELP scheme to pay their student contributions.

The Government groups different areas of study into ‘Bands’ and it sets a minimum and maximum range that can be charged on a full-time study load (normally around 8 units per year), for units that fall into the various Bands. This means that higher education providers (providers) set the student contribution amount for each unit of study they offer. It cannot exceed the maximum rate set by the Government, and most providers charge the maximum rate. The table below shows the student contribution bands and ranges.

For example, based on the 2016 rates, a three-year education degree undertaken as a Commonwealth supported student would have a student contribution amount of around $18,768 for that duration if all the units in that course were classified as Band 1.

Table: 2016 Student contribution bands and ranges
Student contribution band 2016 Student contribution range
(per EFTSL)
Band 3: Law, dentistry, medicine, veterinary science, accounting, administration, economics, commerce $0 - $10,440
Band 2: Computing, built environment, other health, allied health, engineering, surveying, agriculture, mathematics, statistics, science $0 - $8,917
Band 1: Humanities, behavioural science, social studies, education (see Notes), clinical psychology, foreign languages, visual and performing arts, nursing (see Notes) $0 – $6,256


  1. Education and nursing students who began their course as a Commonwealth supported student before 1 January 2010 may be charged less than the 2016 maximum amount listed above for units in education and nursing.
  2. If you are a mathematics, science, education, nursing or midwifery graduate you may be eligible for a HECS-HELP Benefit.
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How can I work out my student contribution amount?

Remember, the ranges in Tables 1 are based upon a student being enrolled full-time (normally 8 units per year), which is why you need to know what the equivalent full-time study load (EFTSL) value of your unit is so that you can use the formula below to work out how much you will need to pay for each unit.

How do I calculate the student contribution amount for an individual unit?

The amount will depend on:

  • the minimum and maximum range set by the Government for the student contribution band that your unit fits into;
  • the weight of the unit – i.e. its equivalent full-time student load value (check with your provider if you don't know the EFTSL value of your units); and
  • the year you began your course of study.

Your student contribution amount for a unit of study is calculated as:

(Student contribution set by provider) xmultiplied by (EFTSL value of unit) =equals the amount you have to pay for the unit.

Henry has enrolled in History A01 as part of his Bachelor of Arts. Henry's provider has set the student contribution for history units at $5,000 per EFTSL. The EFTSL value for History A01 is 0.125.

Student contribution amount =equals $5,000 xmultiplied by 0.125.

Henry's student contribution amount for History A01 is $625
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