FEE-HELP | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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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 upfront
  • receive a FEE-HELP loan for the full tuition fee
  • pay some of the tuition fee upfront, and receive a FEE-HELP loan for the remainder of the tuition fee
How much can I borrow?

Changes to legislation from 1 January, 2020 will see the introduction of a maximum combined HELP Loan limit.

In 2024, students who defer their fees to a FEE-HELP Loan can borrow up to a total HELP loan amount of $121,844 over their lifetime. Students studying medicine, dentistry or veterinary sciences can borrow up to a maximum of $174,998.

Any existing FEE-HELP, VET-FEE HELP or VET Student loans incurred prior to 2021 count towards your HELP loan Limit.

SA-HELP loans are not included in the combined HELP limit.

Any payments made towards the HELP loan will increase the amount of HELP available up to the maximum HELP limit.

A 25% loan fee applies to undergraduate courses deferred to a FEE-HELP loan.

The Department of Education have introduced the myHELPbalance website where you can monitor your HELP balance and ensure you have enough HELP assistance available to cover your tuition fees.

Further information is available on the Study Assist website.

When do I start repaying the loan?

FEE-HELP loans are included in accumulated HELP debts and repayments start when your repayment income is above the minimum compulsory threshold. The compulsory repayment threshold for the 2023-24 income year is A$51,550. A list of the 2023-2024 Repayment Income Thresholds is available from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Details on repaying your accumulated HELP debt is available in the electronic FEE-HELP information booklets on the Study Assist website.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for FEE-HELP a student must provide their Tax File Number (TFN) and;

  • be an Australian citizen, or
  • be a Permanent Humanitarian Visa holder residing in Australia, or
  • be a New Zealand citizen who holds a Special Category Visa (SCV) and meets ALL of the long-term eligibility criteria under this category

Students not eligible for FEE-HELP are required to pay the tuition fee by the fee due date. Refer to:

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 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. Download the form Application for Withdrawal from Course Due to Special Circumstances from Student forms and document requests. Review the guidelines prior to submitting applications.

How to apply

You request FEE-HELP when completing your electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) and enter your Tax File Number (TFN) in USC Central. This FEE-HELP Commonwealth Assistance Form will be included in your list of compulsory To Do items in USC Central.

Note: Eligible NZ citizens will need to visit Student Central to discuss accessing a FEE-HELP loan, as an additional Commonwealth Assistance form will need to be submitted.

More information

For PDF documents you must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe Download page.