Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)

The Government administers the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) which consists of four HELP loans schemes to assist eligible students with the cost of their fees. As a domestic student, there may be a HELP loan available to assist you in meeting the cost of studying.

International students are not eligible to access HELP loans.

HECS-HELP is a loan to help eligible Commonwealth supported place (CSP) students pay for their student contribution amounts (SCA).

FEE-HELP is a loan to help eligible fee domestic paying students pay for their tuition fees.

SA-HELP is a loan that assists eligible students to pay for all or part of their student services and amenities fee (SSAF).

OS-HELP is a loan to help eligible Commonwealth supported students pay for their overseas study expenses. For further information please visit our study abroad and exchange program page.

New Zealand citizen HELP eligibility

The Australian Government implemented changes to allow New Zealand citizens who are Special Category Visa (SCV) holders and meet all of the requisite criteria access to HELP loans from 1 January 2016. For further information relating to New Zealand citizens please visit StudyAssist.

Combined HELP Loan Limit

From 1 January 2020 the Australian Government have introduced the combined HELP loan limit. This limit is a cap on what you can borrow from the Australian Government to cover the costs of your tuition fees. The HELP loan limit will replace the current FEE-HELP limit and will include HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Students Loans.

Any previous HECS-HELP debts will not be included in the HELP loan limit, however, from 1 January 2020 onwards, new HECS-HELP borrowing will count towards the limit. All other HELP debts will be combined on 1 January 2020 and make up your initial balance.

For 2020, the HELP loan limit is $106,319* for most students. The limit for students studying medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses leading to initial registration will be $152,700*.

* Based on 2020 rates – subject to change for 2021 commencing students

You can check you HELP balance on myHELPbalance

To check your balance you need to know your Commonwealth higher education student support number (CHESSN). A CHESSN is a unique identifying number. It is important that you only have one CHESSN.

Please note, there is a time lag between census date and when your information on myHELPbalance is 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 myHELPbalance.

Renewable HELP Balance

The HELP limit is renewable, meaning any compulsory or voluntary repayments made to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) starting from the 2019-20 income year will top up a person's HELP balance. These repayments will be applied to a person's HELP balance from 1 July 2020 onwards. Repayments can be re-borrowed in the future, up to the current HELP loan limit.

For more information please go to studyassist.gov.au