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What is FEE Help?

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FEE-HELP (FEE Help) is an Australian government loan program designed to assist eligible fee-paying students in paying their tuition fees for higher education courses at approved institutions. It operates similarly to the HECS-HELP scheme but applies to students undertaking fee-paying undergraduate, postgraduate, or vocational education and training (VET) courses at approved providers.

Through FEE-HELP, eligible students can borrow funds from the government to cover all or part of their tuition fees, and they repay the loan through the taxation system once their income reaches a certain threshold. This system aims to make tertiary education more accessible to students by allowing them to defer their upfront tuition costs until they are earning a sufficient income. 2024 FEE Help Fact Sheet.

Who is eligible to access and use FEE-HELP?

To get a FEE-HELP loan, you must:

  • be one of the following:
    • an Australian citizen who will study at least one unit of your course of study in Australia; or
    • a New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holder, or eligible former New Zealand SCV holder; who meets the long-term residency requirements and who studies the entire course while living in Australia; or
    • a permanent humanitarian visa holder or an eligible former permanent humanitarian visa holder who studies the entire course while living in Australia; or
    • a pacific engagement visa holder who is resident in Australia for the duration of your unit(s) (note: a PEV holder becomes eligible from 1 February 2024)
    • an Australian Permanent Resident can get FEE-HELP for approved bridging studies
  • be enrolled in a fee-paying place at a provider that offers FEE-HELP loans
  • be enrolled in an eligible course at your provider by the census date (your provider can tell you if your course is eligible)
  • submit the Request for FEE-HELP loan form to your provider by the census date
  • have an available HELP balance
  • provide your provider with your Unique Student Identifier (USI) prior to the first census date (for new enrolments from 1 January 2021) unless an exemption applies
  • be assessed as a genuine student and as academically suitable for your unit(s) of study
  • maintain a completion rate of 50 per cent or above if you are studying at Open Universities Australia (OUA) and your units do not form part of a course of study
  • not undertake more than 2 years’ worth of higher education study in the last 12 months (unless your provider has approved a higher study load)
Bridging studies for overseas-trained professionals

If you are an Australian permanent resident, you might be eligible to apply for a FEE-HELP loan for approved bridging studies undertaken in Australia. A bridging course is for overseas-trained professionals to enable them to meet entry requirements for their profession in Australia.

What will you need to apply?

  • Your tax file number (TFN), or Certificate of application for a TFN
  • A USI
  • A Request for FEE-HELP loan form, which only your provider can give you
  • To fill in and submit your form to your provider before the census date

You only need to apply for FEE-HELP once for the duration of your course.

What if I don’t have enough HELP balance to cover my fees?

If you enrol in a unit of study and your tuition fees exceed your available HELP balance, you must pay the outstanding amount upfront to your provider.

At the passing of the census date, if you did not have enough HELP balance (meaning your loan did not go through) and you didn’t pay upfront, then for:

  • FEE-HELP students, you would owe the amount directly to your provider.

Where do I find my available HELP balance?

You can view your available HELP balance through the myHELPbalance website. You will need your USI or CHESSN, student ID number and personal details to login to the website.

Read the government information booklet

When you submit a request for FEE-HELP to the government, you are declaring that you have read and understood the booklet and your obligations before you access the loan.

Booklet

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