Apart from the knowledge we gain and all the fun parts of uni, student life does come with some big expenses.
To help you through the uni years, there are some student loans available to give you some breathing space through these important years.
Below are some of the different types of student loans offered by the Australian Government. If you are thinking of taking a student loan, carefully check the eligibility requirements and what best suits your needs.
Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)
HELP is a Government initiative introduced to support students struggling with their finances. Under the program there are several loans available that will cover a range of expenses, such as course fees, textbooks or resources.
- FEE-HELP – an interest-free student loan scheme available to fee-paying undergraduate and postgraduate students to help cover tuition costs.
- HECS-HELP – available to Commonwealth supported students to pay your student contributions. It cannot be used to cover the cost of extras like textbooks or accommodation.
- SA-HELP – covers the cost of your student services and amenities fees.
- OS-HELP – assists eligible students who wish to study part of your course overseas. The loan can be used for travel costs, accommodation or study expenses.
Other student loans
- Student Start-up Loan – available to students who currently receive Youth Allowance, Austudy, or ABSTUDY Living Allowance payments. If you’re eligible, you can receive a tax-free payment twice a year.
- Trade Support Loan – available for eligible Australian apprentices. The loan can help cover living costs, such as rent and bills or expenses associated with the apprenticeship, like the cost of tools.
Paying off your student loan
You have to start repaying your HELP debt through the tax system when you earn above a certain amount, even if you’re still studying. The repayment amount is between 4% and 8% of your income, depending on how much you earn. Find out more about the annual thresholds and repayments at Study Assist: loan repayment.
You must tell your employer you have a HELP debt so they can deduct it from your pay. You do this by completing a new tax file number declaration form. You will also need to complete this form each time you start a new job.
If you’re lucky to get the chance to study whilst working, it is important to understand your entitlements.
- Tax deductions – If your study or training is relevant to your job, you may be able to claim some of your expenses as a tax deduction. See the Australian Taxation Office’s webpage on self-education expenses for more details.
- Paid study leave – Ask your employer if they can offer paid study leave or give you time to study during work hours. Some employers may even be able to pay for your course fees or other study expenses.
- Apprenticeships – You may be doing on-the-job training through an apprenticeship or traineeship scheme. If your employer agrees, they will pay your wage while you get qualifications.
- Australian Defence Force Academy – The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) offers tax-free pay and allowances to eligible students who take on a career in the Australian Defence Force. ADFA also pays for their undergraduate or postgraduate degrees.
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