HECS-HELP is a loan scheme that allows eligible students to borrow from the Commonwealth to pay their student contribution amount.

If students take out a HECS-HELP loan their student contribution is paid to the University by the Commonwealth and a HECS-HELP debt recorded for them with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

HECS-HELP cannot be used for additional study costs such as accommodation, text books, administrative or incidental fees.


To be eligible for HECS‑HELP, you must:

  • be studying in a Commonwealth supported place
  • You must also be either:
    • an Australian citizen who will complete some of your program of study in Australia
    • a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder who meets the long-term residency requirements and who will be resident in Australia for the duration of your study
    • a permanent humanitarian visa holder who will be resident in Australia for the duration of your study
  • Apply for HECS-HELP via the Government eCAF portal by the applicable census date
  • be enrolled in each course (subject) by the census date
  • provide your Tax File Number (TFN) or a Certificate of application for a tax file number before the census date
  • provide your Unique Student Identifier (USI) before enrolling
  • have enough available HELP balance

Holders of other permanent visas, and New Zealand Citizens, who do not meet the above eligibility criteria, are not eligible for HECS-HELP loans or the 10% HECS-HELP up-front payment discount and must pay all student contributions to the University by the invoice due date.

For more information regarding HECS-HELP including eligibility and residency requirements please read the CSP and HECS-HELP information booklet, available on the Study Assist publications page.

Applying for HECS-HELP

To apply for HECS-HELP eligible students must complete a Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP form. Your electronic Commonwealth Assistance form (eCAF) is available via the Government eCAF portal.

If you are eligible for a Commonwealth supported place you will be sent an email which contains the information you require to log in and complete your eCAF.

Once you have your credentials you will need to login here.

Please ensure that you have read the HECS-HELP and Commonwealth supported places information booklet. There is a short questionnaire you will be required to complete to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the loans.

  • Find your Passkey in the email you received from ecafsystem@education.gov.au
  • Go to the Government eCAF portal and login using your Passkey and date of birth.
  • Follow the prompts, answer all questions and provide your Tax File Number (TFN), USI (Unique Student Identifier)
  • Click Submit Form to accept your Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and apply for HECS-HELP
  • Ensure that this form is submitted prior to your first census date
  • Please note that your eCAF will expire within 12 weeks so please complete this as soon as possible.

If you need assistance regarding completing your eCAF, or have any questions please submit an online enquiry via the FRED portal.

Eligible New Zealand Special Category Visa holders will need to apply for HECS-HELP by contacting Student HQ and providing evidence of their eligibility. Please refer to our New Zealand HELP eligibility page for further information.

Domestic cross-institutional students who are offered a Commonwealth Supported Place must complete a Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP form online as part of the enrolment process.

HECS-HELP applies for the duration of your program however, if you transfer to another program you will need to complete a new HECS-HELP request form.

Combined HELP loan limit

From 1 January 2020 the Australian Government introduced the combined HELP loan limit which is a cap on what you can borrow to cover the costs of your tuition fees. It includes HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and Vet Student Loans.

Any existing FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP or VET Student Loans taken out prior to 2020 will not count towards your HELP limit. Only HECS-HELP debts incurred from 1 January 2020 will be counted towards the limit.

Once you begin using your HELP loan limit, the amount of HELP you have left to borrow is known as your available 'HELP balance'. You can check your HELP balance on my HELP balance.

For 2022, the HELP loan limit is $109,206. If you plan to study medicine, dentistry or veterinary science leading to initial registration, or eligible aviation courses the HELP loan limit is $156,847.

HECS-HELP upfront payment discount

From 1 January 2021 the Australian Government has reintroduced the upfront ​payment discount for Commonwealth supported students. The HECS-HELP 10% discount mean that eligible students who make an upfront payment of $500 or more, will receive a 10% discount on their course fees.

To receive the HECS‑HELP discount students must be eligible for HECS‑HELP assistance. Upfront payments must be made before the relevant semester census date. The up-front payment must be $500 or more.

The discount means that if you pay 90 per cent of your student contribution amount as an up-front payment your entire student contribution amount will be paid, as the Government will pay the other 10 per cent directly to your provider.

Students can choose to make a partial payment of $500 or more to receive the 10% discount and then defer the remainder of their fees to their HECS-HELP loan.