Confusion often surrounds HELP loans and many times students are not even aware if they are receiving HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP (this can make a big difference when it comes to tax time and deductions).
What are the different HELP schemes?
With so many HELP schemes, it’s no wonder there is confusion. Here’s a quick overview of the various HELP loans, who they are for and what they provide.
HECS-HELP is available to eligible students enrolled in Commonwelath supported places. HECS-HELP provides a loan to cover all or part of your student contribution.
FEE-HELP is available to eligible fee-paying students enrolled at an approved higher education provider or Open Universities Australia. FEE-HELP is a loan to cover up to the full amount of your tuition fees up to a lifetime loan limit.
OS-HELP is available to eligible Commonwealth supported students who wish to undertake study overseas towards their Australian higher education award. OS-HELP provaides a cash loan to cover expenses such as accommodation and travel.
VET FEE-HELP is available to eligible full fee-paying students undertaking vocational education and training (VET) accredited diploma, advanced diploma, graduate diploma and graduate certificate courses with an approved VET provider. VET-FEE-HELP provides a loan to cover up to the full amount of your tuition fees. The same FEE-HELP lifetime borrowing limit also applies.
Do I have HELP debt?
The Australian Government introduced the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) on 1 January, 2005. This replaces the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) and other earlier loan schemes.
If the Australian Government lends you money under any of the schemes in the above table, or you have a debt from the previous schemes, you will have a HELP debt.
You will be required to start repaying your HELP debt when your repayment income is above the minimum repayment threshold for compulsory repayment.