How to pay for university?

How to pay for university

If you are studying at a university, you will either be enrolled in a place where you have to pay for your university fees or where the Australian Government pays a part of your university fees. This is called a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP).  

If you are enrolled in a CSP, the government will pay part of your fees as a subsidy (meaning you do not need to pay it back) and you will need to pay the rest (the ‘student contribution amount’). You may be eligible for HECS-HELP to pay your student contribution amount. 

If you are not enrolled in a CSP, you must pay the fee without a government subsidy. You may, however, be eligible for FEE-HELP. 

How to pay for university FAQs

You are eligible for a CSP if:
  • you are an Australian citizen, a New-Zealand citizen residing in Australia for the duration of your study, or a permanent visa holder residing in Australia for the duration of your study; and 
  • you are enrolled in an undergraduate study program. Only some universities offer CSPs at the postgraduate level. 

However, being eligible for a CSP does not guarantee you will be offered a CSP. Each university and institution provider will have its own (extra) entry requirements. 

If I am eligible, will I automatically be enrolled in a CSP?

No. You will need to check if the course you would like to study is a CSP (you can find this on the university website). 

If your course is a CSP, your university offer letter will tell you if the place you have been offered is a CSP. If it is, you will need to complete the online form given to you by your university by the specified census date.

If you are a postgraduate student, you should check whether your university offers CSPs. 

You may be eligible for a HECS-HELP loan to pay your student contribution amount. 

To get a HECS-HELP loan, you must:
  • be studying in a CSP;
  • be an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen or a permanent humanitarian visa holder and meet the residency requirements;
  • be enrolled in each unit by the census date; and 
  • have available HELP balance. Your HELP balance is the amount left you can borrow. For 2021, the HELP loan limit is $108,232. 
HECS-HELP application process

To apply, you will need to:

  • submit the Request for Commonwealth Support and HECS-HELP form to your university by the specified census date (this will be outlined by your university on the university website); 
  • provide your tax fine number (TFN); and 
  • provide your Unique Student Identifier (USI). Applying for a USI is free, and you can apply for a USI at www.usi.gov.au prior to starting a new course. 

Keep in mind that, if you make up-front payments of $500 or more towards units of study or up-front payments equal to 90% of your student contribution amount, you will receive a 10% discount on your loan. This is called the HECS-HELP up-front discount. We recommend that you do your own research about whether the up-front discount is worth it for you in the long term.

If you are not eligible for a CSP and therefore cannot apply for HECS-HELP, you may be eligible to get a FEE-HELP loan to help pay your fees.

The amount of FEE-HELP you can borrow is equivalent to the HELP loan limit ($108,232 in 2021) to pay your tuition fees. Currently, if you receive a FEE-HELP loan to pay your undergraduate course, you must pay a 25% loan fee*. 

To get a FEE-HELP loan, you must:
  • be an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen or a permanent humanitarian visa holder and meet the residency requirements;
  • be enrolled in a fee-paying place at a university that offers FEE-HELP loans;
  • be enrolled in an eligible course by the census date;
  • have an available HELP balance; and
  • not have taken more than 2 years worth of higher education study in the last 12 months, unless your provider has assessed you as capable of taking on a higher study load.
FEE-HELP application process

To apply, you will need to:

  • submit the Request for FEE-HELP form to your university by the specified census date (this will be outlined by your university on the university website); 
  • provide your tax fine number (TFN); and 
  • provide your Unique Student Identifier (USI). Applying for a UIS is free, and you can apply for a USI at www.usi.gov.au prior to starting a new course. 

*The 25% loan fee does not apply to you if:

  • You study at Bond University, the University of Notre Dame, Torrens University or the University of Divinity; 
  • Your course is a postgraduate study (including higher degrees by research) or is an enabling course;
  • You are enrolled in units of study through Open Universities Australia; 
  • You are getting a FEE-HELP loan to pay for approved bridging studies; or 
  • You are exempt from the loan fee under the Higher Education Relief Package

Yes, there are other HELP loans available to eligible students. These include:

  • the SA-HELP loan, which helps students pay for all or part of their services and amenities fees (SSAF);
  • the OS-HELP and overseas study loan, which helps students enrolled in a CSP who want to study some of their course overseas. 

Find out whether you are eligible for any scholarships!

Ngalaya offers a First Nations scholarships as well as bursaries & grants to First Nations law students to help with the costs of studying. 

There are also state-wide university scholarships, as well as university specific scholarships, to support First Nations law students. 

Questions?

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