How FEE HELP Loans Work

FEE HELP is an Australian Government loan scheme that helps eligible Learners enrolled in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses offered by private providers and universities to pay their tuition fees.

You can choose to pay some of your tuition fees upfront and use a FEE HELP loan for the rest, or use a FEE HELP loan for all your tuition fees if it hasn’t reached the FEE HELP limit.

The Learner will then be required to pay the loan back to the government through the tax system once your income is above the compulsory repayment threshold.

Learner Eligibility

There are specific criteria learners must meet to be eligible for a loan through FEE HELP Loans.

A learner must:

  • be an Australian citizen; or
  • hold a permanent humanitarian visa and usually reside in Australia; or
  • be a qualifying New Zealand citizen;
  • Have not exceeded the FEE-HELP limit
  • Provide a Tax File Number
  • Studying at an approved FEE HELP provider or through Open Universities Australia (OUA)
  • be enrolled in an eligible Unit of Study by the census date for that Unit
Units of Study

For each FEE HELP Eligible Course on your scope, your organisation must determine how the Course will be broken down and delivered into components known as Units of Study (UoS) for which you will charge fees.

Eligible learners can choose to pay a UoS either upfront or by FEE HELP Assistance. This can be in part and per UoS.

It is important to note that Units of Study are not Units of Competency (UoC) – they are a separate reporting structure for fee setting, collection and reporting purposes.

Key points:

  • The number of UoS for a course is at the discretion of your Organisation
    • It is commonly recommended that they are a 1-1 match with your Units of Competency
  • The UoS cost can be the same for each UoS or can be different from one UoS to another
  • You will not issue a Statement of Attainment for Units of Study – you will only issue this for Units of Competency
  • You are still required to record the Unit of Competency outcomes and dates to meet your AVETMISS reporting
  • You will not deem a Learner competent for a Unit of Study – however, you will be required to report Unit of Study progress
  • It is only for Units of Study that a FEE HELP Approved Provider can set and charge Learners tuition fees

A Unit of Competence is a subject or Unit attached to a qualification for which a Learner will be deemed competent if they successfully complete all assessments associated with the unit. You are required to issue a Statement of Attainment for all successfully completed Units of Competency.

Census Dates

For each Unit of Study you intend to deliver, your organisation must publish the cost and a Census Date in advance.

The Census Date for a Unit of Study is the closing date for a Learner to:

  1. Apply for FH Assistance, or
  2. Change their mind if they have already applied for FH Assistance, or
  3. Withdraw from a UoS without penalty

FEE HELP Learners do not incur a liability for a Unit of Study until after the census date (see below) for that UoS. This applies to all Learners whether they pay their tuition fees up-front or seek FEE HELP assistance.

The census date can be set no earlier than 20 per cent of the way through a FEE HELP unit of study. The period of time during which the unit of study is undertaken should include any normal study breaks, assessment or examination periods (except supplementary examinations as these are not normally undertaken by all the Learners in the Unit of Study).

Wisenet does not provide a Census Date calculator as this would normally be determined prior to setting up a Course Offer.

FEE HELP Payments
The tuition fee for a Unit of Study may be paid by:
    • An upfront payment by the Learner
    • An employer contribution
    • FEE HELP Loan (only available for eligible Learners)
    • A combination of the above
    If an eligible Learner chooses to take out a loan:
      • The government will pay the amount of the loan to your organisation on the Learner’s behalf
      • The loan will incur a loan fee – currently this is 25% of the loan amount. From 1 January 2022, the loan fee will reduce to 20% for Units of Study with a census date on or after 1 January 2022. You can read more about the Higher Education Loan Fee Exception update here
      • The Learner will repay the loan and the loan fee through the taxation system when their earnings reach the repayment threshold limit

      The following table outlines in detail what a Learner is required to pay and what you will receive

      Reporting and Data Collection Requirements

      FEE HELP is an additional layer of data collection and reporting. You are still required to meet other data collection and reporting requirements, such as AQTF Competency Completion Reporting, Quality Indicator Surveys and other reporting requirements imposed on you by a Regulatory, Funding or other Government body.

      FEE HELP Reporting Requirements
      It is important to note that you do not report any Unit of Competency data for FH – this includes:

      • The Unit of Competencies and their details being undertaken by the Learner

      You must collect and report FH data on all eligible learners enrolled into a FH eligible course – regardless of whether they are taking out a loan or not.

      Once connected the TCSI process automatically syncs your HE data to TCSI. The sync process occurs nightly and detects any changes that occurred during the past 24 hours.

      The TCSI data sync process has a lot of data validation checks. Records that fail to sync due to validation errors will be skipped and the validation error logged. Users will then be able to resolve such data errors and sync again. Learn more about TCSI

      ECAF - Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form
      It is a requirement that all Learners requiring FH Assistance complete and submit an ECAF. Learn more about ECAF

      Invoice and Assistance Notices
      It is a requirement that all Learners accessing FH Assistance receive both a FH Invoice Notice and Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN). They indicate to a Learner what they are scheduled to study, the cost and census date for withdrawal. Learn more about Invoice and Assistance Notices

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