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Students need a tax file number to avoid course cancellation

First published 31 January 2018

Year 12 students planning to go to university should apply early for a tax file number (TFN), even if they are not currently working. Once at university, eligible students studying in a Commonwealth supported place who wish to defer payment of their fees with a HELP loan, will have their course enrolment and Commonwealth supported place cancelled if they are unable to provide a TFN (or proof of application) to QUT by the census date (usually week four of semester).

If students have only provided proof of application, they must submit a new Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) to request a HELP loan and provide their actual TFN within three weeks of receiving it from the ATO (a maximum of 49 days post-census). If they wish to continue in the course and pay up front, they will be liable for domestic full-fee tuition fees, which are approximately triple the Commonwealth supported rate.

To be eligible to apply for a HELP loan at university you need to ensure that all personal details including full name, date of birth, gender, and tax file number, exactly match those that are held with the Australian Taxation Office.

To obtain a TFN, students contact the Australian Tax Office and complete a 'tax file number—application or enquiry for an individual' form. They need to apply early as it can take up to 28 days to process an application for TFN. Students can call the Australian Tax Office on 132 861 or visit

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