The Government administers the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), which consists of several different HELP loan schemes to assist students with the cost of their fees.

These loans can help eligible students to pay their student contribution, tuition fees, Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF), or overseas-study travel expenses.

There are several different HELP loans available to assist you with the cost of your course.



To be eligible for a HECS-HELP loan you must:

  • be studying in a Commonwealth supported place
  • be an Australian citizen and meet the residency requirements (you must study at least some of your course in Australia)
  • be a New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holder or permanent humanitarian visa holder and meet the residency requirements
  • complete the Commonwealth Assistance Form (available on MyVU) by the first relevant census date to defer the total cost of your course
  • be enrolled in each unit/subject by the census date
  • have available HELP balance
  • have a Unique Student Identifier (USI) prior to the first census date (for new enrolments from 1 January 2021)
  • have sufficient Student Learning Entitlement available (for new enrolments from 1 January 2022)
  • meet the completion rate requirements (for new enrolments from 1 January 2022)
  • not undertake more than two years' worth of higher education study in 12 months, unless VU has assessed you as capable of taking on a higher study load.


To be eligible for a FEE-HELP loan you must:

  • be an Australian citizen and study at least part of your course in Australia; or
  • be a New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holder or permanent humanitarian visa holder and meet the residency requirements - permanent residents can only get FEE-HELP for approved bridging studies
  • be enrolled in a fee-paying place at a provider that offers FEE-HELP loans
  • be enrolled in an eligible course at VU by the census date (contact us if you are unsure if your course is eligible)
  • complete the FEE-HELP Form (available on MyVU) by the first relevant census date to defer the total cost of your course
  • have an available HELP balance
  • have a Unique Student Identifier (USI) prior to the first census date (for new enrolments from 1 January 2021)
  • maintain a pass-rate of 50 per cent or above if you are commencing study in a new course from 1 January 2022
  • not undertake more than 2 years' worth of higher education study in the last 12 months, unless your provider has assessed you as capable of taking on a higher study load.

Payment options

  • Please note when completing the Commonwealth Assistance Form that your choice of payment method will affect your statement of account (SOA) record.
  • If you choose to make partial upfront payments, your fees will show as owing on your SOA until after the relevant census date. This will allow you to make payments up until the relevant census date.
  • If you choose to defer all your fees (student contribution amounts/tuition), your SOA will show no fees outstanding for your tuition.

You can change this payment option at any time before the first relevant census date.

The electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) is an online form used by domestic students to apply for a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and/or Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan.

You must submit an eCAF for a CSP course to show how you will pay your student contribution – whether you pay up-front or defer your tuition fees with a loan.

Find out how to submit your eCAF

HELP loan schemes

There are four HELP loan schemes available:

  • Higher Education Commonwealth Support (HECS-HELP) – for Commonwealth supported students
  • FEE-HELP – for full-fee paying students
  • Student Services and Amenities (SA-HELP) – for both Commonwealth supported and full-fee paying students
  • Overseas Study (OS-HELP) – for Commonwealth supported students.

Find out more about loans for:

New Zealand citizenship & HELP eligibility

Changes in legislation now allow New Zealand citizens who are Special Category Visa (SCV) holders and long-term residents of Australia to access a HELP loan.

The HELP loan can be used to defer payment of tuition fees and the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).

If you hold a New Zealand SCV you will be able to access HELP loans, providing you meet all the long-term residency requirements:

  • first began residing in Australia at least 10 years ago and at that time you were a child under the age of 18 with no spouse or de facto partner
  • you have been in Australia for at least:
    • a total of eight out of the past 10 years; and
    • a total of 18 months out of the last two years.

Please note that if you do not meet all of the above criteria you will not eligible for HELP loans.

To be assessed as eligible to defer your fees you need to provide evidence to the University that you are currently a New Zealand SCV holder and that you have been living in Australia for the required periods. This evidence must be received before the relevant census date or you will not be eligible for HELP assistance for that study period and will need to make full upfront payments on or before the census date.

To apply, take these steps:

  1. Fill in a Request for international movement records
  2. You will generally receive a response from the Department of Home Affairs within 14 working days
  3. Upon receipt of the international movement record, submit it with a certified copy of your proof of citizenship to VUHQ or email to the Student Financials team via AskVU. Students can submit movement records and other supporting documentation via ASK VU by selecting the FEES topic and then from the drop-down menu select  ‘New Zealander (SCV444) Long-term residency Assessment.

If you are assessed as eligible to defer your fees through the HELP loan scheme, you will be notified on what to do next. We may advise you to either complete a hard-copy Commonwealth Assistance form for your HECS-HELP and/or SA-HELP application, or direct you to the online enrolment platform to complete this task.

Please ensure that you submit the international movement record and subsequently your Tax File Number (TFN), if eligible, before the relevant study period census date.

If you have missed this deadline you are required to pay your fees upfront for this study period, but may be eligible to defer for further study periods.

OS-HELP is a loan scheme to help eligible Commonwealth supported students who study overseas for a semester.

It can be used for a range of expenses, including:

If you are a New Zealand SCV holder living in Australia, you can apply for OS-HELP. You'll need to meet all other eligibility requirements, too – and you'll only be able to receive the OS-HELP loan while you are in Australia.

Once you have received your OS-HELP loan amount, you are still eligible for that amount, even if your SCV is removed because you have left Australia. But if you apply for a second OS-HELP loan, you need to be living in Australia at the time – you can't hold an SCV while overseas.

Read more about OS-HELP on the StudyAssist website.

Tax File Number (TFN) requirements

If you decide to defer your fees via a HELP loan, you will need to apply for a TFN in advance.

Your TFN must be valid, and your personal details with Victoria University must match those held by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Victoria University is not notified about your invalid TFN until several weeks after you submit your Commonwealth Assistance Form. You will receive an email notification once we're advised that your TFN can’t be validated - urgent action is required at this point if you want to keep your HELP Loan.

For your TFN to validate, the following personal details on your VU student record must match the details recorded at the ATO:

  • Tax File Number
  • given name(s)
  • middle name(s)
  • family name
  • date of birth.

If a mismatch is discovered between your TFN details and those provided to VU, you'll need to let us know why and change your details with either the ATO or VU by the relevant census date.

When the ATO has incorrect details

If your personal details with the ATO are incorrect you will need to update them in one of these ways:

When VU has incorrect details

If your personal details at VU are incorrect, to update them by filling out a Personal Details Amendment form (A11).

Once your details have been corrected and you have let us know, we can validate your TFN with the ATO.

Pass rate requirements for CSP & HELP loans

If you begin your enrolment with VU on or after 1 January 2022 and apply for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP), HECS-HELP or FEE HELP, the 50% pass rate will apply.

This means that once you have undertaken 4 or more units in a sub-bachelor level course (e.g. a Higher Education Diploma), or 8 or more units in bachelor and above level courses, you must have passed at least 50% of your total attempted units in order to remain eligible for a CSP, HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP.

You will need to pass at least 50% of your total attempted units across your course of study otherwise you will need to be in a full-fee place (instead of Commonwealth Supported) and/or pay the tuition fees upfront until your pass rates improve to higher than 50%.

VU will contact you if you approach or reach the limit of your pass requirements. We will discuss with you the options available – such as transferring to a full fee place.

Visit the Study Assist website for more details.

Student Learning Entitlement (SLE)

The Student Learning Entitlement (SLE) places a limit on the amount of government funding you can assess for your study.

It means you can only be enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported (CSP) place or access a HELP loan for a period of 7 years full-time (or part time equivalent).

The SLE applies to students who commenced a CSP course from January 2022.

Keep track of your debt

You can keep track of your debt by verifying the Commonwealth Assistance Notice that we provide you.

Alternatively, you can access this information these government websites.


myHELPbalance will help you keep track of how much you have borrowed under the various HELP loans from 2005 onwards.

Please note, there is a time lag between the census day and when your information on myHELPbalance is updated.


myGov offers more information about your HELP debt.

It will show:

  • all of your current HELP debt
  • any indexation (increase) that has been applied to your debt
  • any repayments that you have made, so you can see how much you have left owing.