Nursing and Education

Important Budget information

See the Budget 2014 - Student Overview page to find out how the 2014-15 Budget Announcement affects the HECS-HELP Benefit.


HECS-HELP Benefit for education and nursing/midwifery graduates

Eligible education and nursing/midwifery graduates, who graduate after 30 June 2009 and take up employment in these professions, may apply for the HECS‑HELP Benefit.

The HECS‑HELP Benefit reduces compulsory HELP debt repayments.

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Am I eligible?

You are eligible for this Benefit if you:

  • graduated from an eligible education course or an eligible nursing/midwifery course after 30 June 2009;
  • were a Commonwealth supported student for some or all of that course;
  • had a HECS-HELP debt at course completion for that course;
  • still have a HELP debt to repay in the income year for which you are applying;
  • are required to make a compulsory HELP debt repayment for the income year of your application; and
  • were employed as a teacher or a nurse/midwife for at least one week in the income year for which you are applying.

There is a lifetime limit of 260 weeks for the Benefit as an education or nursing/midwifery graduate. That means eligible applicants could receive this HECS-HELP Benefit for 5 years of eligible employment.

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What is an eligible education course?

It is:

  • a course that leads to the award of a qualification that is recognised by a state or territory government as meeting the requirements for initial registration or employment as a teacher in a primary, secondary, middle or intermediate school; or
  • an early childhood education teaching course. An early childhood education teaching course is a course that leads to the award of a qualification, that is recognised by a state or territory government as meeting the requirements to teach early childhood education.
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What is an eligible nursing/midwifery course?

An eligible nursing or midwifery course is a course that leads to the award of a qualification that is recognised by a state or territory government as meeting the requirements for initial registration as a registered nurse or a registered midwife.

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Teaching related occupations

To be eligible for the Benefit as an education graduate you must, along with other eligibility criteria, be employed (for at least one week) in the income year for which you are applying, as a:

  • Early education teacher (including early childhood special education teachers);
  • Primary school teacher;
  • Middle school teacher;
  • Secondary school teacher;
  • Special education teacher; and
  • School principal.

A description of each role is outlined in the HECS‑HELP Benefit Guidelines which is publically available at ComLaw (opens in new window).

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Related occupations for nursing/midwifery graduates

This is an occupation that requires registration as recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) (opens in new window) for employment purposes, as a registered nurse, registered midwife or an enrolled nurse (referred to as a Division 2 nurse in Victoria).

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How much will my reduction be?

The Benefit is calculated on a pro-rata basis according to the number of weeks worked in the income year period. The amount of HECS‑HELP Benefit that you can receive depends on your HELP debt when you completed your course and the number of weeks worked in an eligible occupation.

The maximum HECS‑HELP Benefit as an education or nursing/midwifery graduate is:

  • $1,558.50 for the 2009–10 income year;
  • $1,588.11 for the 2010–11 income year;
  • $1,635.75 for the 2011‑12 income year;
  • $1,683.19 for the 2012-13 income year; and
  • $1,716.85 for the 2013-14 income year.

The maximum amount will be indexed for later years.

Example
Anna completed an eligible nursing degree in November 2010 and worked as a registered nurse from January 2011 to June 2011 for a period of 26 employed weeks in the 2011‑12 income year. Anna incurred a HECS-HELP debt of $12,000 upon completion of her nursing degree. Anna lodges her 2011‑12 income tax return in August 2012 and applies for the HECS‑HELP benefit at the same time. Her repayment income is $50,000 and her compulsory repayment is $2,000 (please refer to the loan replayments section for information on how to calculate the repayment amount).

Anna’s HECS‑HELP benefit amount is calculated as follows:

Maximum Benefit* ÷ 52 x weeks employed = Benefit received

$1,635 ÷ 52 x 26 = $817

*Maximum HECS-HELP Benefit amount for the income year for an education or nursing/midwifery graduate.

Anna's accumulated HELP debt is reduced by $817. Anna is required to make a HELP debt repayment of $1,183 ($2,000 - $817).

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How do I apply for the Benefit?

Applications for the education or nursing/midwifery HECS‑HELP Benefit may be made to the ATO from 1 July 2010, preferably at the same time that you submit your income tax return. More information on applying for a HECS‑HELP Benefit is available on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website (opens in a new window).

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