Changes to HELP Loans from 2020

Changes to HELP Loans from 2020

Changes to HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP in 2020

2020 Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) Reforms


You may have heard that from 2020 there will be changes to the way you can defer your tuition fees and when you need to start repaying them. Below is a summary of these changes and how they may affect you.

Current Legislation
(pre-2020)
Change to Legislation
(2020 onwards)
Impact to Students

Repayment threshold for 2018-2019 is $51,957 with a 2% repayment rate

A new set of repayment thresholds

From 1 July 2019, the new minimum HELP repayment threshold will be $45,881 with a 1% repayment rate.

For information on the new repayment thresholds, please see Paying Back My Loan on the Study Assist website.

There is only a limit on FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Students Loans.

Combined HELP Limit for 2020

From 1 January 2020 there will be a combined HELP limit for students using HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Students Loans.

The FEE-HELP limit in 2019 is $104,440 for all courses except medicine which has a limit of $150,000

What are the HELP limits in 2020

In 2020 there will be a combined HELP limit of $106,319 for all courses except for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science students whose limit will be $152,700.

No limit on the amount of HECS-HELP you can borrow.

For students using FEE-HELP, once you have reached your limit you can no longer defer any fees to a FEE-HELP loan.

Combined, renewable HELP loan limit

Combined HELP loan limit

From 1 January 2020, a combined HELP loan limit will replace the FEE-HELP limit. There will now also be a limit on the amount you can borrow for HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Students Loans.

Only new HECS-HELP loans incurred from 1 January 2020 will be counted towards the limit.

Any existing FEE-HELP or Student Loans borrowed before 2020 will count towards your new HELP balance.


Renewable HELP balance

From 1 January 2020, you can top up your HELP loan balance by making repayments towards your debt.

Repayments starting from the 2019-20 financial year will top up your HELP balance.

Compulsory or voluntary repayments can be re-borrowed in the future, up to the current HELP loan limit.

Repayments do not provide you access to further FEE-HELP loans. Once you exceed your limit, you must pay all tuition fees fully upfront.

Repayments will credit your new HELP balance

Voluntary repayments you make will credit your HELP balance when the ATO notifies the Department of Education about your repayments.

Any compulsory repayments will credit your HELP balance once:

  • you have completed your tax return,
  • have been issued a notice of assessment, and
  • the ATO notifies the department of any repayments you made on your HELP debt.

Your fortnightly PAYG repayments will not credit your HELP balance until your completed tax return has been processed by the ATO.

MQ currently does not have any UG courses which attract the 25% loan fee (but we did in the past)

Removal of FEE-HELP loan fee

From 1 January 2019, students studying an undergraduate domestic fee paying course (non-Commonwealth Supported) will no longer be charged the 25% FEE-HELP loan fee.

This only applies to units of study with a census date on or after 1 January 2019.

You can check your HELP debt via MyUniAssist

New portal to view your debt

To keep tabs on your HELP balance, you can use the myHELPbalance portal. This will replace the MyUniAssist portal from 1 January 2020.

The MyUniAssist portal will continue to run until the end of 2019 and then have a redirect to the myHELPbalance portal.

For more information on these changes, please see the following links:

Our source:  StudyAssist website on behalf of the 2018 Sustainability Bill – passed legislation

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