Government loans – study now pay later

You may be able to study now and pay later by using a government loan to pay for your course. Government loans are available for most of these courses:

How it works

You don’t need to pay for your course upfront. In fact, you won’t need to begin paying for your course until you earn more than $54,869 a year.

Through a government loan, the Australian Government pays the amount of your course to the education provider on your behalf.

You will start paying back this loan through the tax system once your taxable income is higher than the minimum repayment threshold. This includes a 20% loan fee.

There are 3 types of government loans that work this way:

  • FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP loans can be used to pay for courses like Bachelor Degrees and postgraduate qualifications.
  • VET FEE-HELP loans can be used to pay for Diplomas.

On the 5th October 2016 the Australian Government announced plans to replace the VET FEE-HELP scheme with the VET Student Loans scheme, which are scheduled to apply from the 1st January 2017.

Before choosing to access VET FEE-HELP you should understand the impact of these proposed changes on the VET-FEE HELP scheme, as well as the proposed VET Student Loans program.

The Government has advised that students who access VET-FEE HELP prior to the 31st December 2016 may continue to access the VET FEE-HELP scheme until the 31st December 2017, provided the student notifies the Australian Government Department of Education and Training of this intention by the 31st March 2017. 

To do this, the student needs to complete an online form that will be made available on the Department’s website. If the student does not inform the Department, access to VET-FEE HELP will cease on the 31st March 2017.

If your study continues into 2018, the proposed changes state you may not be able to access VET FEE-HELP after 31st December 2017. However, you may be able to access the new proposed VET Student Loans scheme, depending on the course and provider. For further information and updates, you should regularly check the Australian Government’s proposed changes to student loan schemes.

Find out more about the proposed changes.

Am I eligible?

You are eligible if you:

  • are an Australian citizen, or
  • hold a permanent humanitarian visa, or
  • hold a New Zealand Special Category visa and meet the residency requirements.

If you have already used an Australian Government loan to pay for tertiary study, you must not have exceeded the FEE‑HELP limit.

Courses subsidised by the government

Some courses are also subsidised by the Australian Government.

This means the price you pay for the course is much cheaper – the government covers part of the course fee.

For courses subsidised by the government, see:

Get advice

For advice on payment options for the course you're interested in, contact a SEEK Learning consultant.