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

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HECS-HELP is a loan program to help eligible students enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place to pay their student contribution amounts. There are three ways students can pay their student contribution:

  • pay their full student contribution up front
  • receive a HECS-HELP loan for the full student contribution
  • pay some of the student contribution up front and receive a HECS-HELP loan for the balance of the student contribution.
Who is eligible for HECS-HELP?

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

  1. be an Australian citizen or
  2. be a permanent humanitarian visa holder residing in Australia or
  3. be a New Zealand citizen who holds a Special Category Visa (SCV) and meets ALL of the long-term residency eligibility criteria under this category

HECS-HELP 10% discount

From 01 January 2021, eligible students who make an upfront payment of $500 or more will receive a 10% discount on student contribution unit fees.

Student may choose to do the following to be eligible to a 10% HECS-HELP discount:

  • make a partial payment of $500 or more towards your student contribution and you will receive the 10% discount on the amount you pay and then defer the rest of your fees to your HECS-HELP loan
  • pay 90% of your full student contribution amount as an upfront payment and your entire student contribution amount will be paid, as the Government will pay the remaining 10% directly to USC

Note: Upfront payments must be made on or before the Fees Due day for the relevant study period

Students not eligible for HECS-HELP are required to pay the student contribution by the fee due date. Refer to:

How do you request HECS-HELP assistance?

Requests for HECS-HELP are made in USC Central when you complete your Request for Commonwealth Support and HECS-HELP form (eCAF). You will only need to complete an eCAF once for each program in which you are enrolled. Follow the instructions in the How to view your completed eCAF PDF Guide (PDF 1.68MB) to check your completed form.

Note: Eligible NZ citizens will need to visit Student Central to provide evidence of your eligibility for the HECS-HELP, as an additional Commonwealth Assistance form will need to be submitted. USC's preferred method of evidence is an International Movements Record which can be obtained from the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA).

You need a Tax File Number (TFN)

Eligible students need to provide their Tax File Number by the fee payment due date. If you cannot find your TFN, phone the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 61.

If you do not have a TFN, you will need to apply for one online from the Australian Taxation Office. It is essential to apply early to ensure you have your TFN on or before the fee payment due date. * 

* If the ATO do not allocate your TFN before the fee due date you must provide USC with a copy of your TFN Application Summary (you print this from the ATO website) and the receipt Australia Post issued when you provided your proof of identity. Failure to provide this evidence will prevent your access to HECS-HELP assistance. You will therefore be required to pay your fees in full. We recommend you provide your evidence of having applied for a TFN as a precaution.

How much can I borrow?

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

In 2022 Students who defer their fees to a HECS-HELP Loan can borrow up to a total HELP loan amount of $109,206 over their lifetime. Students studying medicine, dentistry or veterinary sciences can borrow up to a maximum of $156,847.

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

Any previous HECS-HELP debts incurred prior to 2020 are not included in the combined HELP loan limit.

However if a student has accessed a FEE-HELP, VET-FEE HELP or VET Student loan in the past the outstanding balance will be carried over and count towards your HELP loan Limit.

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

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 student contribution.

Further information is available on the Study Assist website.

How to keep track of your HECS-HELP loan

A Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) will be available in USCCentral no later than 28 days after each census date. Check your student email account for advice on when your CAN is available. Your CAN will include information on:

  • the USC courses for which you have received Commonwealth assistance
  • the student contribution amounts you have been charged for courses you were enrolled in at the Census date
  • any up-front payments you have made
  • any HECS-HELP assistance you have used for that study period, if you are using HECS-HELP to pay your student contributions
  • Student Services and Amenities charges, payments or SA-HELP assistance, if you have used SA-HELP for that study period.

Refer to How to view your completed eCAN PDF guide (PDF 1.19MB) for instructions.

You have 14 days from the date your CAN is issued to submit a written request for correction to Student Central if you think there are incorrect details included on your CAN.

Your CAN includes your unique Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN). Should you wish to keep track of your HELP loan in myUniAssist. You will need your unique CHESSN and other personal identifying details. For further information on myUni Assist refer to Study Assist.

Students with a HECS-HELP loan begin repaying HELP debts through the taxation system once your repayment income is above the compulsory repayment threshold. The compulsory repayment threshold for the 2021 -22 income year is A$47,014. A list of the 2021- 2022 Repayment Income Thresholds is available from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

This repayment threshold is adjusted each year and further information on repaying your HELP loan is available at Study Assist.

What happens to my HECS-HELP liability if I drop out of university?

To avoid unnecessary financial expenses, make sure that you withdraw in USCCentral before the relevant census date. If you withdraw from a course / subject after the census date, you will still be liable to pay for that course / 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 Withdrawal from Course Due to Special Circumstances from Student forms and document requests. Review the guidelines before submitting an application.

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