Eligible Commonwealth supported place students who do not wish to pay their student contribution upfront can request Commonwealth assistance and defer their fees through an element of the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) known as HECS-HELP. You may choose to pay some of your student contribution upfront and obtain a HECS-HELP loan for the remainder or obtain a loan for the full amount.

If you take out a HECS-HELP loan, the Commonwealth pays the loan amount directly to Federation University on your behalf and a HECS-HELP debt is recorded for you with the Australian Taxation Office.

HECS-HELP does not cover your Student Services and Amenities Fee. Please refer to our SA-HELP page for options to defer your SSAF.  There may also be other fees or charges including administrative and incidental fees you'll need to pay which cannot be deferred to a HELP loan.

HECS-HELP applies for the duration of your program even if you take leave or discontinue study your HECS-HELP form will remain in place. However, if you transfer to another program you will need to complete a new HECS-HELP request form.


To be eligible for HECS‑HELP, you must:

  • be studying in a Commonwealth supported place;
  • be an Australian citizen; or
  • be a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder who meets the long-term residency requirements; or
  • be a permanent humanitarian visa holder;
  • be enrolled in each unit at your university by the census date;
  • meet the relevant HECS-HELP residency requirements and
  • submit a valid Request for Commonwealth support and HECS‑HELP form by the census date

If you are a permanent (non-humanitarian) visa holder, or a New Zealand citizen who does not meet the NZ SCV long-term residency requirements you are not eligible for HECS-HELP. You must pay your student contributions upfront by the census 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 in my Student Centre as part of the online enrolment process. Please ensure that you have read the HECS‑HELP and Commonwealth supported places information booklet.

  • Log in to my Student Centre
  • Select the Campus Finances tile
  • Select Commonwealth Requirements
  • Select eCAF Summary
  • Select Submit to open your incomplete form
  • Follow the prompts, answer all questions and provide your Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Click Submit Form to accept your CSP and apply for HECS-HELP

Combined HELP loan limit

From 1 January 2020 the Australian Government 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

Note: Eligible New Zealand Special Category Visa holders will need to apply for HECS-HELP in person at Student HQ and provide evidence of their eligibility. Please refer to our New Zealand HELP eligibility page for further information.

If you are a permanent (non-humanitarian) visa holder, or a New Zealand citizen (who does not meet the NZ SCV residency requirements for HELP loans), you are not eligible for HECS-HELP. Students who are not eligible for HECS-HELP must pay their full student contribution amount upfront to Federation University by the census date.

If you are a cross-institutional student and wish to access HECS-HELP at both institutions, you must complete a Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP form for each institution at which you enrol. Domestic cross-institutional students who are offered a Commonwealth Supported Place at Federation must complete a Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP form online as part of the enrolment process.