New Zealand citizen HELP eligibility
The Australian Government recently passed legislation to extend access to student HELP loans to eligible New Zealand citizens who have been long‑term residents of Australia since childhood.
From 1 January 2016 some New Zealand citizens who are Special Category Visa (SCV) holders will be eligible for Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) assistance. This includes access to HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP, OS-HELP and SA-HELP loans. You must meet all of the required eligibility criteria in order to access HELP.
New Zealand citizen Special Category Visa holders will be eligible for HELP assistance providing they meet all of the long-term residency requirements. You must:
- first entered Australia as a dependent child under 18 years of age and at that time you did not have a spouse or de facto partner; and
- first started to be generally living and resident in Australia at least 10 years before you apply; and
- been resident in Australia for at least:
- total of 8 out of the past 10 years immediately before applying; and
- total of 18 months out of the past two years immediately before applying; and
- otherwise eligible for a HELP loan.
If you do not meet the above requirements or hold a permanent resident visa (excluding a permanent humanitarian visa) you are not eligible for HELP assistance and will not receive the HECS-HELP discount. You will continue to be offered a Commonwealth Supported Place and must make full upfront payment of your student contribution amount by each semester census date.
For 2016 only, eligible New Zealand citizen SCV holders in a Commonwealth Supported Place will be eligible for the 10% HECS-HELP discount for upfront Student Contribution Amount payments of $500 or more, paid to FedUni before the relevant semester census date in 2016. Please note from 1 January 2017 the 10% HECS-HELP discount for upfront payments will be removed for all Commonwealth Supported Place students.
Procedure for current and future students
FedUni will assume that all current and future students who are New Zealand citizens do not hold a Special Category Visa or do not meet the other eligibility criteria. If you are a New Zealand citizen, holder of a Special Category Visa and believe you meet all of the HELP eligibility criteria you must provide evidence of the following:
- New Zealand citizenship;
- Special Category Visa;
- Arrival in Australia as a dependent minor
- Presence in Australia for at least eight of the previous 10 years at the time of HELP application
- Presence in Australia for at least 18 months out of the last two years at the time of HELP application
The following documents, certified true and correct, or presented in person with photo ID at FedUni Student Administration / Student Services must be used to establish eligibility for HELP:
- New Zealand passport
- International movement record
- Certificate of application for a Tax File Number, Tax File Number advice or notification of assessment of income tax dated from when you were a minor.
- Pay slips or payment summaries from when you were a minor; or
- Stamped passport;
- Australian student ID card or concession card;
- Australian proof of age card from when you were a minor;
- Enrolment papers from when you were a minor;
- School reports or certificates;
Once your eligibility for HELP assistance has been established, a paper Commonwealth Assistance Form for the relevant HELP loan/s will be mailed to you, or can be collected in person from -
Mount Helen Campus
Please note that forms are not available to collect from other locations. A paper form must be completed and submitted even if you have already submitted an online form via my Student Centre. An online Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) for NZ citizen SCV holders to apply for a HELP loan will not be available via my Student Centre in 2016.
After the forms have been submitted and approved you will become eligible for HELP assistance. Forms must be submitted and approved on or before the census date of the semester in which they are to take effect. You must also provide your Tax File Number to FedUni before the semester census date.
If the forms are not submitted and approved on or before the relevant census date you will not be eligible for HELP assistance for that semester and you must make full upfront payment of your student contribution amount, tuition fees or Student Services and Amenities Fee on or before the census date. Please visit federation.edu.au/current-students/essential-info/administration/important-dates for a list of census dates.
Please note that if you are, or become, an Australian permanent resident you will not be eligible for HELP assistance.
An otherwise eligible New Zealand citizen who ceases to reside in Australia will also immediately cease to be eligible for HELP assistance as the Special Category Visa only applies if you are resident in Australia. You must advise FedUni immediately if you cease to reside in Australia. It is your responsibility to keep your contact details up to date at all times.
If you are a New Zealand citizen who becomes a Permanent Resident of Australia you must notify FedUni immediately. A permanent resident does not hold a Special Category Visa and is not eligible for HELP assistance.
Further information and assistance
If you are unsure whether you are a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder, you can check this on the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system. You can also check with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. If necessary, you can also obtain copies of your international movement records from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship by lodging a Request for International movement records form.
Further information is available on the Study Assist website at studyassist.gov.au. Please visit studyassist.gov.au/sites/studyassist/helpfulresources/pages/faqs-nz to read frequently asked questions relating to New Zealand citizens.