Deferring your fees (HELP loans)
Types of loans
Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loans are available to eligible domestic students studying at an approved higher education provider. There are a variety of HELP loans available:
- HECS-HELP is the most common type of loan. It is only available to students with a Commonwealth supported place. It allows you to wholly or partly defer paying the cost of your student contribution to your study.
- SA-HELP is available to eligible students to wholly or partly defer paying the cost of your Student Services Amenities Fee (SSAF).
- FEE-HELP is available to eligible fee-paying students.
- OS-HELP is available to eligible students to help pay for the costs of overseas study.
Deferring your fees
When you defer your fees, you take up the option of a HELP loan. While there is no interest charged on your loan, it is indexed on 1 June each year so that the amount owed increases in line with inflation.
Example: one year of HECS debt
Alex completes 8 units of study in the first year of her Bachelor of Health Science degree. Her fees total $6,656 for the year. Her loan is indexed the following year on 1 June at a rate of 1.8%. The total amount owing on her loan for her first year of study now comes to $6,775.80.
You can defer the full amount of your fees or pay a proportion of your fees up front and defer the balance. If you are considering full or partial payment of your fees, it's worth thinking it through. Some questions you might consider include:
- What will the total cost of my fees be at the end of my degree if I fully defer?
- What will the total cost be if I pay upfront?
- What will the total cost be if I partly defer?
- Will my savings be worth more if I leave them in a high interest account, or put them to another use?
- Will paying my fees leave me with enough savings in case of an emergency or something unexpected?
- How much do I expect to earn when I graduate and how will this affect the repayment of my loan?
- How long will it take me to repay my fees at this rate?
You will need to start making repayments on your HELP loan when you earn over the compulsory repayment threshold ($45,881 in 2019-20), even if you are still studying.
Notify your employer that you have a HELP debt so that they can deduct these repayments from your pay along with your tax. Otherwise you may have the payment amount debited from your tax return or receive a bill at tax time.
More information about repaying your HELP loan: