What is HECS-HELP?

HECS-HELP is not just a loan scheme. Under HECS-HELP, eligible students can also receive a 10% discount on the amount of their whole student contribution (for a study period) for any upfront payment of $500 or more, if they choose not to use a HECS-HELP loan.

The HECS-HELP discount works by increasing the value of a person’s upfront payment which means that they will actually be required to pay less (if they pay their whole amount upfront) or to defer less with the loan (if they make a partial upfront payment and defer the rest).

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Am I eligible for a HECS-HELP loan?

To be eligible for a HECS-HELP loan, you must:

  • be studying in a Commonwealth supported place;
  • be an Australian citizen or permanent humanitarian visa holder;
  • enrol with a provider in each unit, by the census date;
  • read the Information for Commonwealth supported students booklet; and
  • submit a valid Request for Commonwealth support and HECS HELP form by the census date (or earlier administrative date) to your provider.
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Can I use HECS-HELP if I’m a New Zealand citizen or a permanent visa holder?

No. New Zealand citizens and non-humanitarian permanent visa holders are not eligible for a HECS-HELP loan or discounts for up front payments of student contributions (unless the New Zealand citizen is also an Australian citizen).

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How does the HECS-HELP discount work if I pay all my student contribution as an up-front payment?

To pay your full student contribution up-front, you only need to pay 90% of the total because the Government pays the other 10% through the HECS-HELP discount.

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How does the HECS-HELP discount work if I pay only part of my student contribution up-front?

Not all students can afford to pay their whole student contribution up-front. In this case, eligible students can pay part of their contribution up-front and defer the rest through the HECS-HELP loan. Even partial upfront student contribution payments of $500 or more are eligible for the HECS-HELP discount.

Example - how the HECS-HELP discount and loan works with a partial up-front payment.

Marnie undertakes 4 units as part of her Bachelor of Engineering, all with a census date of 31 March 2013, and is eligible for HECS-HELP. The total student contribution for these units is $3,000.


Marnie makes a partial up-front payment of $500 before the census date, which means her payment, including the discount, is $500 x 1.1111 = $555.50 Her HECS-HELP debt will therefore be $3,000 - $555.50 = $2,444.50.

The Australian Government will pay the loan amount ($2,444.50), plus the amount of the discount ($555.50 – $500 = $55.50) to Marnie’s provider on her behalf. Because of her up-front payment, Marnie will defer the student contribution amount she hasn’t paid ($2,444.50) with a HECS HELP loan. Marnie will be required to repay her debt through the tax system when she earns above the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment.

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What if I don’t want to pay any amount up-front?

Eligible students who don’t want to pay any of their student contribution amounts up-front can use a HECS-HELP loan for the whole amount. Students who use a HECS-HELP loan will be required to pay their debt through the tax system when they earn above the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment.

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How much will a HECS-HELP loan cost me?

There is no real interest charged on HECS-HELP loans. However, your debt will be indexed each year to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index to maintain its real value.

The indexation adjustment is made by the Australian Taxation Office on 1 June each year and applies to the portion of your debt that has been unpaid for 11 months or more. For more information see Interest and indexation.

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Can I change my payment option?

You can change your HECS-HELP payment option before the census date or administrative date for the relevant study period. If you have not made an up front payment by the census or administrative date, any unpaid student contribution amount at the census date will be deferred automatically as a HECS-HELP loan and become a HELP debt, provided you have included your TFN on your submitted Request for Commonwealth support and HECS HELP form.

If you have any further queries about changing your payment option, the student administration area of your provider will be able to assist you.

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How do I repay my HECS-HELP loan?

See Paying back my loan for more information on repaying your HECS-HELP loan.

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Need more information?

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions or the Contact us page.

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