The different ways you can pay for study

Starting a new course of study is so exciting, but it's important to think about how you'll manage it financially. The good news is, there are some government-backed loan schemes to help you pay for your course.

Here’s the lowdown on what you need to know to make sure you apply for the right scheme and make the most of the financial help available.


This is a loan scheme to help Australian citizens enrolled in higher education to cover tuition costs. Fee-paying places are generally available for postgraduate courses at universities and in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses offered by private providers. You’ll be happy to know Macleay’s courses are covered by FEE-HELP.

Rather than subsidising fee paying places, the Australian Government provides the FEE-HELP loan scheme to assist with paying tuition fees. You do not have to use a FEE-HELP loan. You can choose to pay all your tuition fees upfront, or you can pay some upfront and use a loan for the rest, or use a FEE-HELP loan for all your tuition fees (up to your limit).


A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is a subsidised higher education enrolment, available at all public universities (and a handful of private higher education providers in national priority areas like nursing and education).

The Australian Government pays a portion of the fees for the place directly to the university. The subsidy amount is not a loan and doesn't require repayment. However, students are required to contribute towards their study by paying the remainder of the fee known as the 'student contribution amount' for each unit they are enrolled in. Universities set their student contribution amounts (within limits set by the Australian Government).

VET Student Loans

Eligible students can apply for a loan to pay for their fees up to capped amounts through the Commonwealth Government’s VET Student Loans scheme. The loan applies to eligible courses at the Diploma level or above.

What you need to know:

  • There’s no interest charged on HELP debts.
  • Your HELP debt is subject to indexation, applied in June each year to adjust it in line with changes to the cost of living.
  • A 25% loan fee applies to FEE-HELP loans for undergraduate courses of study. The fee doesn’t count towards your FEE-HELP limit.

How to repay your loan:

  • Once your income reaches the compulsory repayment threshold, you have to start repaying your HELP debt through the taxation system even if you’re still studying. The threshold is adjusted each year.
  • For the 2017-2018 income year, the compulsory repayment threshold is $55,874 and for 2018-2019 it’s $51,957.

Do your homework around the financial cost of studying and prepare for any future repayments. With the right loan or arrangement in place, you can focus on getting the most out of your studies.

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