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.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a HELP loan you must:

  • meet the relevant citizenship and residency requirements
  • meet the tax file number (TFN) requirements
  • study at least part of your course of study in Australia
  • be enrolled in an eligible unit of study by the census date of the relevant study period
  • complete the Commonwealth Assistance Form (available on MyVU) by the first relevant census date to defer the total cost of your course
  • have not exceeded the FEE-HELP limit.

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.

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. Download and fill in a Request for international movement records form.
  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.

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

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.

myUniAssist

myUniAssist 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 myUniAssist is updated.

myGov

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.