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Government HELP loans


HECS-HELP allows eligible domestic Commonwealth supported students to defer their student contribution through a loan.

Any amount borrowed becomes part of an accumulated HELP debt which you will be required to repay through the tax system once you meet a certain salary threshold.

There is combined HELP loan limit on what you can borrow from the Australian Government to cover the cost of your fees.

Up to date information on the HELP loan limit can be found on the Study Assist website.


To be eligible to apply for HECS-HELP, you need to:

  • be enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place (CSP)
  • be an Australian citizen or 
  • an Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder, or an eligible former permanent humanitarian visa holder or 
  • a pacific engagement visa holder (effective 1 February 2024) or 
  • be a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder who meets the long-term residency requirements and 
  • meet the HECS-HELP citizenship and residency requirements.

Eligibility criteria and legislation around HECS-HELP can change. See the Australian Government's Study Assist website for full details.

Additional eligibility requirements

Student learning entitlement

From 1 January 2022, the Goverment implemented the Student Learning Entitlement (SLE). This is the amount of study you can undertake in a Commonwealth supported place.

The SLE means students can undertake a maximum of 7 years of full-time subsidised study (7 Equivalent Full Time Student Load or EFTSL) in a Commonwealth supported place. This is calculated from 1 January 2022.

Find out more about how the Student Learning Entitlement (SLE) works.

How to apply

When you complete the Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP form to take up your CSP place, if eligible you can apply to defer your student contribution through HECS-HELP. To apply for HECS-HELP you will need to provide your Tax File Number (TFN).

This form can be completed as part of your enrolment process in Sydney Student, or at a later time through Sydney Student (go to 'My finance', 'Your finances', then 'Government forms'). The form must be submitted on or before your earliest census date.

You need to read the Commonwealth supported places and HECS-HELP information booklet available at Study Assist prior to submitting the form.

Your Student Financial Statement in Sydney Student will include your liability status (depending on which payment option you have chosen) and the fees you are either deferring to HECS-HELP or paying up front.

If you’re a Commonwealth supported student eligible for HECS-HELP and have not provided a TFN or paid your student contributions up front before census, your enrolment will be cancelled.

Changing your payment option

If you decide during your study that you’d like to change your payment option and you’re eligible for an alternative, you can make this change through Sydney Student (go to ‘My finance’, ‘Your finances’, then ‘Government forms’) before the relevant census date.

Partial payments

If you have opted to defer your student contribution through a HELP loan, you can still make a voluntary partial payment. This can be done during the partial payment window that opens seven days before the census date.

You can make a payment through Sydney Student. Go to ‘My finance, ‘Your finances’, ‘Government forms’, then select ‘Partial payment’.

You can make only one partial payment per semester. If you experience any issues or would like to amend your payment, contact us.

Student Centre



1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864)
or +61 2 8627 1444 (outside Australia)

Find out more about how we can help

Last updated: 07 February 2024

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