Keeping track of your HELP debt
On this page:
- What is a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN)?
- Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN)
- Do I need a CHESSN?
- How do I get a CHESSN?
- Why do I have to provide personal information?
- I forgot my CHESSN...how can I find it?
- Further information about CHESSN
- What is myUniAssist?
While it is your responsibility to be aware of all requirements regarding your HELP loan, the resources on this page will help you keep up to date with your debt.
What is a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN)?
After the census date, your provider will send you a CAN. The CAN includes important information about your enrolment, any HELP debt you have incurred or student contribution amounts you have paid, and any loan fee you may have incurred.Return to top
What information is on my CAN?
If you are a Commonwealth supported student, your CAN will include information on:
- the units of study for which you have received Commonwealth assistance;
- the student contribution amounts you have been charged for the units you are enrolled in;
- any up-front payments you have made;
- any HECS‑HELP assistance you have used for that semester study period, if you are using HECS‑HELP to pay your student contributions; and
- an OS‑HELP loan if you have accessed one for that study period.
- the tuition fees for your units of study;
- the units for which you have received FEE‑HELP,VET Student Loans or VET FEE‑HELP;
- any up-front payments you have made;
- any FEE‑HELP loan fee incurred for undergraduate units of study; and
- any VET Student Loans or VET FEE‑HELP loan fee incurred.
What if my CAN is incorrect?
If you notice any errors on your CAN, you have 14 days from the date of the CAN to submit a written request for correction. Some providers allow longer than 14 days, but you will need to check this with your provider directly. You will need to specify:
- which details you believe are incorrect; and
- why you believe they are incorrect.
Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN)
Your CHESSN is your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number. It is a unique identifier/identifying number that stays with you for the whole of your student life. Your CHESSN helps providers and the Australian Government provide you with information about any Commonwealth assistance (scholarships, HELP loans or VET Student Loans) you may have used.Return to top
Do I need a CHESSN?
You need a CHESSN if you are:
- a Commonwealth supported student
- accessing a HELP loan or VET Student Loans, or
- receiving a Commonwealth Scholarship.
How do I get a CHESSN?
Your tertiary admissions centre (TAC) or your provider will allocate you a CHESSN when you first apply for admission. If you already have a CHESSN, the number will remain the same. You will be notified of your CHESSN in your Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) which must be sent by your provider within 28 days of the census date for a unit of study. For important information on the census date and administrative date, see Deadlines and withdrawals.Return to top
Why do I have to provide personal information?
During the admission application process you will be asked to consent to personal identification details being provided to the Department of Education and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) under strict privacy conditions. These details are used to verify your identity and to ensure that you are not issued with a duplicate CHESSN. If you do not provide your consent you will not be eligible for Commonwealth assistance. Providers are required to comply with Commonwealth privacy legislation when handling personal information relating to Commonwealth assistance. There are strict penalties for officers of providers and the Australian Government who misuse this personal information. Providers must have grievance procedures in place for non-academic matters which can be used by students for dealing with complaints about their providers misusing this personal information. Providers must also have a procedure to allow you to access your personal information.Return to top
I forgot my CHESSN...how can I find it?
Your CHESSN is printed on your Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN). Your provider must send you a CAN within 28 days of the census date for a unit of study. See above for more information about CANs. If you can’t find your CAN, you can contact the student administration area at your provider.Return to top
Further information about CHESSN
If you have any questions or need any help with your CHESSN, please contact the student administration area of your provider.Return to top
What is myUniAssist?
myUniAssist is a database that will help you keep track of how much Commonwealth assistance you have used (i.e. how much you have borrowed under the HELP scheme). It is important to note that myUniAssist does not provide your current HELP balance, does not include debts incurred pre-2005 (including under the former HECS, OLDPS, PELS and BOTPLS schemes), nor will it show any HELP repayments you have made.
There is a time lag between the census date and when your information on myUniAssist gets updated, so to work out your current balance you may need to add any units you have recently enrolled/are currently enrolled in to the total shown on myUniAssist.
The ‘FEE-HELP assisted units’ tab on MyUniAssist includes FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Student Loan amounts. For VET Student Loans or VET FEE-HELP information, the exact amount of your HELP debt will not be accurate until after late 2017. You should also check the FEE-HELP summary information in this tab and on the MyUniAssist home page regularly as a retrospective validation process is applied to the VET Student Loans data reported by education providers. This means that this data could be revised up to six to eight weeks after it has been reported, as debts are transferred to the ATO.
Alternatively, you can view your HELP debt online via the myGov website. To access this online service, please refer to the instructions on the ATO website (opens in a new window) or you can call the ATO on 13 28 61. You will have to advise the ATO of your tax file number (TFN) before they will disclose any personal information to you.Return to top
How do I access myUniAssist?
To log in to myUniAssist (opens in new window), select the attached link.
You will need your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) to log in and check your record and balances. You are allocated a CHESSN when you first become a Commonwealth supported student. Please see above for further information about your CHESSN.