HECS-HELP

From 1 January 2017, the Australian Government will remove the upfront HECS-HELP discount of 10% for eligible students that pay their student contributions upfront and the voluntary HELP repayment bonus of 5%. For more information visit the Australian Government's StudyAssist website. 

The Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) is a loan scheme provided by the Australian government to assist higher education students to meet the tuition costs of their studies.

HECS-HELP is the loan program that assists students in commonwealth supported places (mostly undergraduates) with paying their student contribution amount. HECS-HELP can cover all or part of a student's student contribution amount.

Through HECS-HELP, the Australian Government pays the amount of the loan direct to ANU. Students repay their loans through the Australian taxation system once their income is above the minimum repayment threshold for compulsory repayment. Voluntary repayments may be made at any time regardless of income.

There is no loan fee for HECS-HELP loans.

Frequently asked questions about HECS-HELP

Who is eligible to use HECS-HELP?

Australian citizens and some permanent humanitarian visa holders and eligible New Zealand citizens who are enrolled in an award program are eligible to use HECS-HELP providing they complete a Request for HECS-HELP Assistance Form on or before the census date of their first course in their current session/semester/trimester.

Undergraduate students enrolled at ANU on a cross-institutional basis may use HECS-HELP as long as they provide written advice from their home institution confirming that the course will be counted towards their program of study at their home institution and that they hold a Commonwealth supported place.

Students enrolled in a non-award course that is not being studied on a cross-institutional basis are not eligible to use HECS-HELP for that course. These students must pay domestic tuition fees.

Permanent residents, New Zealand Citizens (that do not meet the eligibility criteria) and temporary residents are not eligible to use HECS-HELP.

Am I eligible for a discount if I pay my fees up-front?

From 1 January 2017, the Australian Government has removed the discounts on upfront and voluntary repayments. 

Will my income and assets affect my eligibility for HECS-HELP?

Your income and assets do not affect your eligibility for HECS-HELP. Your income may result in you being required to start to repay your HECS-HELP debt.

What is an eligible course for HECS-HELP?

An eligible course is a subject which is part of a program leading to a higher education award (eg bachelor degrees and other undergraduate awards).

How much can I borrow?

There is no limit to the amount of HECS-HELP a student can borrow.

How does HECS-HELP assist me to pay my student contribution?

Each course at ANU has an associated fee. If you hold a Commonwealth supported place then the Australian Government pays a portion of the fee. The remainder is called the 'student contribution'.

A student may choose to pay all or part of their student contribution up-front. Any amount of student contribution that remains unpaid at the relevant course census date can be deferred to HECS-HELP.

What does HECS-HELP cover?

HECS-HELP provides a loan for the student contribution amount only. HECS-HELP does not cover accommodation, textbooks, general living expenses etc.

How do I apply for HECS-HELP assistance?

If you are eligible for HECS-HELP assistance and would like to obtain a HECS-HELP loan, you should complete a Request for HECS-HELP Assistance Form. All HECS-HELP forms are completed through ISIS by selecting 'Account details' from the menu list and then selecting 'eCAF'. If there is no form available on ISIS and you believe your are eligible to use HECS-HELP, you should contact Student Central immediately.

You must complete and submit the Request for HECS-HELP Assistance Form through ISIS on or before the census date for the first course for which you wish to obtain HECS-HELP assistance. If you have not submitted a completed Request for HECS-HELP Assistance Form on or before the census date for the course, you will not be entitled to HECS-HELP assistance for that course and the Australian Government will not pay your tuition fee for that course.

What does signing the Request for HECS-HELP Assistance Form mean?

When you sign your request form, you are:

  • confirming that you have read the HECS-HELP information booklet provided by Study Assist and the form and are aware of your obligations under HECS-HELP
  • requesting the Australian government to lend you the amount of your student contribution amount outstanding at the census date for each course of study covered by the form and to use this amount to pay the outstanding amount of your tuition fee to ANU on your behalf
  • agreeing to begin repaying the loan to the Australian Government, through the taxation system, when your income for an income year is above the minimum repayment threshold for compulsory repayment.

What if I only want HECS-HELP for some courses of study?

You may choose to pay part of your student contribution up-front and borrow the remainder through HECS-HELP. To do this you must apply for HECS-HELP assistance then simply pay the desired portion of student contribution using one of the normal payment methods. Any remaining amount at the relevant course census date will automatically be deferred to the HECS-HELP loan as long as you have supplied your tax file number.

Do I have to provide my tax file number?

You will be asked to provide your tax file number (TFN) when completing and submitting theRequest for HECS-HELP Assistance Form.

If you choose not to provide your TFN, you will not be entitled to HECS-HELP and will be required to pay your fees up front. If you cannot quote your TFN when you enrol, you should either obtain a TFN, or aCertificate of application for a tax file number (TFN) from the Australian Taxation Office stating that you have applied for one, and then provide that certificate to Student Central the on or before census date.

ANU will use your TFN to provide advice to the Australian Taxation Office regarding the amount of your loan.

When is the closing date for requesting HECS-HELP?

You must submit yourRequest for HECS-HELP Assistance Form online through ISIS on or before census date for the first course of study for which you wish to obtain HECS-HELP assistance.

If you have not submitted a completedRequest for HECS-HELP Assistance Form on or before the relevant census date, you will not be entitled to HECS-HELP for that course or courses. The Australian Government will not pay your student contribution for that course. Census date deadlines cannot be extended.

What if I change my program of study?

You will need to submit a new Request for HECS-HELP Assistance Form if you transfer from one program to another.

When do I incur a debt?

You incur a HECS-HELP debt immediately after the census date for each course of study for which you have received HECS-HELP assistance.

How can I check if the calculation of my HECS-HELP debt is correct?

Within 28 days after the census date for the relevant course or courses, ANU will provide you with a electronic Commonwealth Assistance Notice (eCAN) for that course. Your eCAN will be available on ISIS by selecting 'account details' from the menu and then selecting 'eCAN'. This is your electronic Commonwealth Assistance Notice which provides you with information on your HECS-HELP debt for that course. The notice may cover more than one course.

Your notice will enable you to check if the calculation of your HECS-HELP debt for the courses covered by the notice is correct.

If you believe the eCAN is incorrect, you should submit a written request to Student Central within 14 days of the date of your eCAN asking for the eCAN to be corrected. You should identify the matters in the eCAN that you believe are not correct and specify why you believe they are incorrect.

How can I find out my HECS-HELP balance?

Students are able to access the myUniAssist link for a summary of their personal details regarding Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) assistance through the Study Assist website. Using their Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN) and other personal identifying data, students can view their HECS-HELP usage as reported to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) by ANU and other institutions. However this may not show your most recent courses taken so please check your eCAN.

What happens if I withdraw after the census date?

If you have not paid your student contribution up-front, you have requested HECS-HELP assistance and you withdraw after the census date, you will have a debt to the Australian Government that you are legally required to pay.

If, after the census date, you become seriously ill, or other special circumstances occur and you are unable to continue your studies, you can apply to ANU to have your HECS-HELP debt removed for that course(s). You should note that there are time limits for applying.

How do I apply to have my HECS-HELP debt removed in special circumstances?

If you withdraw your enrolment in a course after the census date, or have not completed the requirements for a course, as a result of special circumstances, you may apply to have your HECS-HELP debt removed. This is known as a remission of debt and can only occur in special circumstances.

If you have successfully completed a course, you are not eligible to apply to have your HECS-HELP debt removed for that course.

To apply for a remission of HECS-HELP debt in special circumstances, you must apply for a late withdrawal.

You must make your application for late withdrawal to ANU within twelve months after your withdrawal date.

See the fee refund page for more details.

What happens if I fail a course?

If you fail a course, you still have to pay the debt for that course. It does not matter whether or not you attended any classes.

When do I start repaying my debt?

You start repaying your accumulated HELP debt when your repayment income is above the minimum repayment threshold for compulsory repayment. The repayment thresholds are adjusted each year to reflect any changes in average weekly earnings.

The minimum repayment threshold for the 2016-17 income year is $54,869.

For further information regarding your repayment income, contact the Australian Taxation Office.

How much will my repayments be?

When your repayment income is above the minimum repayment threshold for any particular year, the Australian Taxation Office will calculate your compulsory repayment for that year and include it on your income tax notice of assessment. The repayment thresholds are adjusted each year to reflect any change in average weekly earnings.

Your compulsory repayment increases as your repayment income increases. The more you earn the higher your repayment. Your compulsory repayment is based on your income alone, not the income of your parents or spouse.

You must start repaying your debt when your repayment income is above the minimum repayment threshold, even if you are still studying.

Is interest charged on my debt?

No. You are not charged interest on your debt. Your accumulated HELP debt is indexed annually on 1 June each year to maintain its real value by adjusting it in line with changes in the cost of living (as measured by the CPI). The indexation figure is calculated each year after the March CPI is released.

Can I make voluntary repayments?

You can make a voluntary repayment to the Australian Taxation Office at any time and for any amount. Making a voluntary repayment reduces your debt immediately. However, you may still have to may a compulsory repayment, if after making a voluntary repayment:

  • you still have an accumulated HELP debt; and
  • your repayment income is above the minimum repayment threshold.

Voluntary repayments are in addition to compulsory repayments. They are not refundable.

Can I get a bonus for voluntary repayments?

No.  From 1st January 2017 the Government has removed the 5% bonus on voluntary repayments.