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Postgrad coursework fees

Some courses offer a limited number of Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) where the Australian Government subsidises your course fees and you pay the remaining amount – a student contribution. CSPs are highly competitive and based on merit. You don’t need to apply for a CSP, as your application will be automatically assessed, and you will be notified in your letter of offer whether you have been offered a CSP or a full-fee-paying place.

To find out whether your course offers Commonwealth Supported Places:



Commonwealth Supported Places are sometimes called HECS places. HECS stands for Higher Education Contribution Scheme. HELP stands for Higher Education Loan Program. For those domestic students who have a HECS place and fulfill other basic eligibility criteria, you can take out a HECS-HELP loan to pay for all or part of your tuition fees. It cannot be used for additional study costs such as accommodation or textbooks. Students on permanent humanitarian visas are eligible for HECS-HELP.

There is no limit on HECS-HELP. For as long as you have a HECS place, you are entitled to take out a HECS-HELP loan, regardless of existing debt. You will then repay this amount through the Australian Taxation Office once you meet a certain salary threshold.


What is FEE-HELP?

FEE-HELP is a federal government loan scheme that assists eligible full-fee-paying students to pay all or part of their tuition fees. It cannot be used for additional study costs such as accommodation or textbooks. For 2019, the new combined HELP loan limit will be $104,440 for most students. For students undertaking medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses, the HELP loan limit will be $150,000.

Once you begin using FEE-HELP, the amount of FEE-HELP you have left to use is known as your FEE-HELP balance. You need to repay this amount through the Australian Taxation Office once you meet a certain salary threshold.

For more information about FEE_HELP, including application and eligibility:


Studying overseas and OS-HELP

OS-HELP is a government loan for CSP students who travel overseas for study purposes, eg exchange, fieldwork etc. The loan contributes to your accumulated HELP debt. For more details about OS-HELP, including application and eligibility:


How do I know how much my accumulated HELP debt is?

After the census date each semester (March 31 & August 31), you will be emailed your Commonwealth Assistance Number (CAN); an official statement outlining your unit of study enrolment for that session; student contribution; and any HELP debt or loan fee you may have incurred.

You can access this information any time via Sydney Student (go to ‘My finance’, ‘Your finances’, then ‘CAN statements’). The CAN statement also includes your Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN), which you will need to log in to myUniAssist and track any Commonwealth assistance used for your tertiary study.


Do I need a Tax File Number (TFN)?

You must provide your TFN to be eligible for HELP. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) can assist you with information on how to obtain a TFN.


When do I need to start making compulsory HELP debt payments?

You have to start repaying your HELP debt through the taxation system once your income is above the compulsory repayment threshold, even if you are  still studying. The compulsory repayment threshold is adjusted each year, increasing according to Consumer Price Index. For the 2018-2019 income year, the compulsory repayment threshold is $51, 957. For more information visit the ATO website:


Do I still have a debt if I withdraw from units?

Not if you withdraw prior to the census date. If you withdraw after the census date, you may be able to obtain a remission of your HELP debt if you can prove special circumstances, such as illness or misadventure, which made it difficult for you to continue studying. You will need to prove your individual circumstances were unforeseen and happened after the census date.  

To seek remission of your HELP debt after the census date you need to make an application within 12 months of you discontinuing the unit of study.

It is very important that you have independent documentation confirming special circumstances (e.g. illness or misadventure).

If your application to the University for remission of a HELP debt has been rejected, you can apply to the University for a review of their decision. If you are still not satisfied you can then appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal:


Unable to pay tuition fees for the semester

International coursework and research students may sometimes find they are unable to pay their semester fees within time. If this is you note the University will send you a notification to remind you about payment and a deadline for payment. If you have no capacity to pay the amount by the deadline you must contact International Fees and explain. In some cases you may be able to pay some of the amount and remain enrolled. If you do not contact the University and ignore further notices you may face sanctions including un-enrolment from your course.

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