HECS-HELP is for eligible students in a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) and allows you to defer payment of up to 100% of your student contribution.
To be eligible to apply for HECS-HELP you must be:
- enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place
- an Australian citizen or Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder, and
- resident in Australia for the duration of your study.
You have the following options for paying your student contribution:
- Make a full or partial upfront payment and take out HECS-HELP for the remainder.
- Defer the full amount to HECS-HELP.
Note: From 1 January 2017, the Australian Government no longer offers a 10% discount on upfront payments.
If you are an Australian citizen or an Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder and have provided a valid Tax File Number (TFN), your student contribution will automatically defer to HECS-HELP after the census date if you do not make a full upfront payment.
Loan payment and repayment to the Australian Tax Office (ATO)
If you defer payment of your student contribution with HECS-HELP, the Australian Government will pay RMIT, on your behalf, all or part of the cost of your student contribution. This amount will become part of your accumulated HELP debt.
You only start repaying your accumulated HELP debt to the Australian Government once you earn above the minimum income threshold for repayment, which is set each year by the Australian Government, even if you are still studying.
The ATO will calculate your compulsory repayment for the year and include this on your income tax notice.
In addition to making the compulsory repayments you can at any time make voluntary repayments to the ATO.
Note: From 1 January 2017, the Australian Government no longer offers a 5% voluntary repayment bonus for payments made directly to the ATO.
For more information about paying back your loan, visit the Australian Government’s Study Assist website.
Costs and charges
There is no application fee and no interest charged. However, your HELP debt will be indexed annually by the ATO to maintain its real value in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
How to apply
Before you decide whether to apply for HECS-HELP you MUST READ the Australian Government’s Information for Commonwealth supported students and HECS-HELP booklet.
As part of your online enrolment you are legally required to complete the Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP form. RMIT provides this Commonwealth Assistance Form electronically, and it is known as an eCAF. The eCAF allows you to indicate your preferred payment option for your student contribution, such as paying up front or using HECS-HELP to defer payment.
To assist your decision, read about the options for paying your student contribution.
When completing your eCAF, you will also be asked to provide your tax file number (TFN). If you are eligible for HECS-HELP and do not provide a valid TFN, or pay your student contribution upfront before the census date your enrolment may be cancelled for the semester.
You must complete a separate eCAF for each program for which you want Commonwealth assistance.
After you apply
Approval and notification process
Your Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP form is automatically approved when you submit it. This is because you are entitled to HECS-HELP if you are enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place and you meet the eligibility requirements (you are an eligible Australian citizen or a Permanent Humanitarian Visa holder). Unlike SA-HELP which is an optional loan scheme, you will not receive any formal notification that your HECS-HELP form has been assessed and approved.
Your tax invoice and making payments
You will receive a tax invoice from RMIT even if you have nominated to defer your student contribution through HECS-HELP. This is to give you the opportunity to pay all or part of your student contribution for the current semester upfront.
Any other charges not related to your student contribution (example: material fees and library fines) cannot be deferred to HECS-HELP and must be paid by the due date listed on your invoice.
Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN)
A Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) is an official statement from RMIT outlining the HELP loan or student contribution payment option you have chosen and any HELP assistance you have received. Learn more about your CAN including how to access it.
Removal of debt due to special circumstances
If, because of special circumstances, you need to withdraw from your program/course after the census date then you can apply to have your HELP debt remitted.
For more information, including a definition of special circumstances and by when your application must be submitted, please download the Application for remission (removal) of debt in special circumstances form.