Your guide to understanding FEE-HELP

A university student works on a laptop.
A university student works on a laptop.

Postgraduate study is a significant financial investment – so it’s vital that you understand the cost of study and the impact it will have on your finances. 

At UNSW, we appreciate that affordability is a key consideration for students, especially given the rising cost of living. That’s why we make it a priority to ensure that those studying with us are aware of the financial assistance that’s available to them. FEE-HELP is one of these programs.

What is FEE-HELP?

FEE-HELP is an Australian Government loan program designed to make study more accessible to more students.

FEE-HELP provides a loan to eligible fee-paying students attending university or an approved higher education provider, allowing them to defer payment for all or part of their tuition fees. It’s a loan for tuition fees only; it doesn’t cover costs like accommodation, laptops or textbooks.

If you’ve received an offer to study at UNSW Online and meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for FEE-HELP when you accept your offer. Our Student Enrolment Advisors are here to help with any questions.

Am I eligible for FEE-HELP?

To be eligible to receive FEE‑HELP, you must meet specific citizenship and residency requirements. You must be either:

  • an Australian citizen
  • an eligible New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holder
  • a permanent humanitarian visa holder (or eligible former permanent humanitarian visa holder)
  • a permanent resident who is undertaking approved bridging studies

You must also:

  • be enrolled in an eligible program of study at UNSW Online by the census date. You can find the census date by viewing the academic calendar  
  • submit the FEE-HELP form (known as an eCAF) on or before the census date
  • have a tax file number (TFN) or have applied for one
  • have a HELP balance greater than $0

You’ll also need to maintain a 50 per cent pass rate to remain eligible for FEE-HELP.

StudyAssist, a Government website, has comprehensive information about FEE-HELP eligibility and the application process.

How much would my FEE-HELP repayments be?

Each student’s FEE-HELP repayments will differ. Your compulsory repayment amount will depend on the cost of your course, your salary, and whether you have any existing HELP debt, amongst other factors. 

The Australian Taxation Office website has a comprehensive HELP loan repayments calculator that allows you to calculate your payments based on your circumstances. 

How do I repay my FEE-HELP balance?

Students can repay their FEE-HELP debt via compulsory and voluntary repayments. The compulsory amount you’ll pay is a percentage of your income, which means the more you earn, the higher your repayments will be. You’ll automatically begin to repay your debt through the tax system once you earn more than a certain repayment threshold. If you don’t earn above the threshold, you won’t have to make repayments on your debt.

You can make a voluntary FEE-help repayment at any time. Voluntary repayments are in addition to compulsory repayments and are non-refundable.

What’s the difference between FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP?

FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP are both loan programs the Australian Government provides to help students attend university and approved higher education providers. Both options only cover tuition fees, not additional study costs like accommodation, laptops or textbooks.

Students can only get a HECS-HELP loan if they’re enrolled in a Commonwealth-supported place (CSP), where the Government pays part of their fees and they’re responsible for the remainder (their ‘student contribution amount’). If you’re enrolled in a CSP, you may be able to get a HECS-HELP loan to cover your student contribution amount, which will vary depending on your field of study. 

A FEE-HELP loan helps eligible students pay all or part of their tuition fees for any course at an approved provider.

Find out more about how FEE-HELP can benefit you

Interested to learn more about FEE-HELP? Speak to one of our dedicated Student Enrolment Advisors to learn more and start your application

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