The quick guide to FEE-HELP

by frank-stuart

It goes without saying that funding your higher education experience is a big consideration when deciding whether to study. For the majority, graduation will mean receiving a qualification in one hand and a certain level of debt in the other. Thankfully, the Commonwealth Government has introduced loan schemes, such as FEE-HELP, that can help reduce the stress around funding your studies.

The following is a simple guide to FEE-HELP broken into 10 bite-sized pieces –

1 So what is it?

FEE-HELP, in simple terms it means you can study now and pay later. In more detail, It is a loan scheme provided by the Commonwealth Government that allows you to defer tuition fees until such time as you are in the workforce and earning above the minimum repayment threshold (which is $47,196 for the 2012 financial year).

2 And it covers what exactly?

It covers tuition fees. Every Higher Education Provider (HEP) publishes its tuition fees on their website. You can use FEE-HELP to pay all or part of your tuition fees.

3 How does it work?

The government will pay your loan amount directly to your chosen HEP. Once you qualify to begin repayments on the loan, it will be repaid through the tax system. You can always make voluntary payments as well.

4  Is there a limit on what I can borrow?

In 2012, the FEE-HELP limit is $89,706. This is the total amount available to students over a lifetime. (Repayments do not reset the maximum that can be borrowed). You are responsible for ensuring you don’t reach your limit.

5 What are the eligibility requirements?

FEE-HELP is open to Australian citizens of any age. To access FEE-HELP you must study with an approved FEE-HELP provider. As long as you have submitted the required application forms and you are enrolled in an eligible unit of study by the Census date, then you are eligible for FEE-HELP.

6 What is a Census date and why does it matter?

The Census date is important. It’s the date early in each semester when your enrolment application becomes finalised. Before this date, you can withdraw from courses without incurring any FEE-HELP liability. Your HEP will inform you when the census date is.

7 Can I get FEE-HELP if I study part-time?

Yes.  FEE-HELP is available for both full-time and part-time students.

8 Can I access FEE-HELP for two courses at the same time?

Sure! As long as you have not reached your FEE-HELP limit, you can spread your payment across two courses. You will just need to submit a separate application for each course.

9 Does FEE-HELP affect my Centrelink payments?

Not at all. Centrelink benefits have no bearing on FEE-HELP assistance whatsoever.

10 How do I apply?

Your HEP helps you through the application process, firstly by confirming you are eligible, secondly by giving you all information you need and thirdly by providing the paperwork you need to complete.

Want to find out more?

Further info about FEE-HELP can (and should) be hunted down at the Commonwealth Government’s Going To Uni website, and here (Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations). You can also speak to a representative from your chose HEP.

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