Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP loan scheme

Information on the proposed range of higher education reforms, announced on 1 May 2017, is available from the Government's Higher Education Reform Package webpage. The proposed reforms, subject to the passage of legislation, include changes to Commonwealth Support arrangements.

HECS-HELP is a loan scheme to help you pay your course fees.

You can choose to:

  • pay nothing up-front and take out a loan that covers all your fees
  • pay part of your fees up-front and take out a loan for the rest
  • pay all your fees for the semester up-front.

If you choose to pay some or all or your fees up-front, you'll pay each semester for the subjects you're enrolled in. You can change your payment option at the start of each semester.

From 1 January 2017 you won't receive a discount for paying your fees up-front.

Am I eligible for HECS-HELP?

To be eligible, you need to have accepted a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) in a university course and be:

  • an Australian citizen
  • a permanent humanitarian visa holder and living in Australia for the duration of your course.

If you're a New Zealand citizen with a special category visa, you may be able to apply for a HELP loan if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Check StudyAssist for more information about HELP loans for eligible New Zealand students.

If you have another type of permanent visa (other than a permanent humanitarian visa), you'll need to pay your fees up-front to QUT each semester.

Do I have a Commonwealth supported place (CSP)?

When you check the indicative fee in your course details, it will tell you if places in your course are CSP. That stands for 'Commonwealth supported place'.

A Commonwealth supported place means that the government pays part of the cost of your course and you pay the rest. The indicative fees only represent the part that you pay. We call this your 'student contribution'.

All domestic places in our undergraduate courses are Commonwealth supported. Some of our postgraduate courses also have Commonwealth supported places for domestic students.

Domestic students are:

  • Australian citizens
  • permanent visa holders, including permanent humanitarian visa holders
  • New Zealand citizens (including Pasifika peoples who came to Australia as New Zealand citizens).

If you're a permanent visa holder, permanent humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand citizen, to be eligible for a Commonwealth supported place you must:

  • live in Australia during the teaching period of your course
  • be able to provide proof of your citizenship or visa.

How do I apply for HECS-HELP?

You can apply for HECS-HELP once you've applied for a course, been offered a place and accepted your offer. You must apply for HECS-HELP before you can enrol in your units.

Repaying your HECS-HELP debt

If you choose to take a loan for any part of your fees, you'll only need to start repaying it when your income reaches a certain level. As your income increases you pay a bigger percentage towards your HECS-HELP debt.

The amount you have to repay is calculated by the Tax Office each year. You should let your employer know you have a HECS-HELP debt and they can withhold money from your pay to cover your repayments.

You can choose to make extra repayments of any amount at any time. From 1 January 2017 you won't receive a discount for making extra repayments.

HECS-HELP loans are interest-free, but your debt will increase each year as it's adjusted in line with changes in the cost of living, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

More information