FEE-HELP is an Australian Government loan scheme that helps eligible fee paying students pay their tuition fee. There are three ways students may pay tuition fees:
- pay the full tuition fee up front
- receive a FEE-HELP loan for the full tuition fee
- pay some of the tuition fee up front and receive a FEE-HELP loan for the remainder of the tuition fee.
You can borrow up to the amount of the tuition fee charged for your unit of study. However, over your lifetime you can borrow only up to the FEE-HELP limit.
In 2013, the FEE-HELP limit is A$116,507 for medicine, dentisty and veterinary science students. For all other students the FEE-HELP limit is A$93,204. This amount is indexed each year.
From 1 January 2011 a 25 percent loan fee applies to undergraduate courses deferred to a FEE-HELP loan. This loan fee was previously 20 percent.
Students who submit or have already submitted a Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form indicating the 20 percent loan fee will be considered to have completed a valid form and will be subject to the increased percentage.
FEE-HELP loans are included in accumulated HELP debts and repayments start when your repayment income is above the minimum compulsory threshold. This threshold is adjusted each year and in 2013 is A$49,096.
Details on repaying your accumulated HELP debt is available in FEE-HELP information booklets available from Student Administration and electronic versions are available on the study assist website.
Who is eligible?
Australian citizens and holders of a permanent humanitarian visa enrolled in an accredited postgraduate award program are eligible for FEE-HELP assistance.
FEE-HELP is not available to New Zealand citizens and holders of other permanent visas. New Zealand citizens and permanent visa holders (except permanent humanitarian visa holders) must pay their tuition fees up front.
What happens to my FEE-HELP liability if I drop out of university?
To avoid unnecessary financial expenses, make sure that you withdraw before the relevant census date. If you withdraw from a subject after the census date, you will still be liable to pay for this subject. This means that if you have already paid upfront, you may not be able to get a refund, and if you have deferred your fees, you will continue to have a debt with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
If you withdraw after the census date, due to serious illness or other special circumstances, you may be able to have your debt removed or refunded if you paid upfront. Please download the form 'Application for Removal of Financial Liability and/or Academic Penalty in Special Circumstances' from Student forms and document request. Please review the guidelines prior to submitting applications.
How to apply
Eligible students must complete and submit a Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form including the provision of their tax file number. Request for FEE-HELP Assistance forms are included in USC offer packs and must be completed and submitted to Student Administration by the fee payment due date.
A new Request for FEE-HELP Assistance is required for any change in program of study if FEE-HELP assistance is required.
Forms are also available from Student Administration.
Detailed information on FEE-HELP is available on the study assist website.