Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)
The Australian Commonwealth Government have introduced a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) which provides eligible students who commenced studies from 2005, with a loan to help pay their course tuition fees.
You have to start repaying your HELP debt through the taxation system once your repayment income is above the compulsory repayment threshold, even if you are still studying.
The compulsory repayment threshold is adjusted each year. For the 2012-13 income year, the compulsory repayment threshold is $49,095.
Repayment income is calculated from the amounts given on your income tax return
There are four main types:
HECS-HELP for eligible Commonwealth Supported Students
FEE-HELP for eligible Fee Paying Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students
OS-HELP for eligible Commonwealth Supported Students who want to study overseas (Exchanges and Study Abroad).
SA-HELP for eligible Commonwealth Supported Students
Commonwealth Supported Students
Australian undergraduate students are Commonwealth supported. This means the Australian Government provides funding towards the cost of your education. You are required to pay a portion of the cost as a Student Contribution (HECS).
Eligible students have the option of paying their Student Contribution (HECS) upfront and receiving a discount on their contribution, or to take advantage of a HECS-HELP loan.
Domestic Full Fee Paying Undergraduate Students
A 25% loan fee applies to undergraduate FEE-HELP loans. The FEE-HELP loan fee only applies for undergraduate fee paying courses of study.
Over their lifetime, students will only be able to borrow up to a maximum of $93,204 unless a person is undertaking a medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses (As defined in the Higher Education Support Act 2003). If they are, the FEE-HELP limit is increased to $116,507. The FEE-HELP limit is indexed on 01 January each year.
Note that the higher FEE HELP limit only applies to courses that lead to initial registration to practise in those fields. The lower limit will apply to any further study you undertake once you have gained the requisite level for initial registration.