To get a student loan in Australia is easy when you are able to compare the different loan options available to you.

The cost of tertiary education in Australia is among the highest in the world.

You can expect a high return on your investment since you will be able to find a well-paid job and start a successful career after graduation. For the time being, however, you need to focus on paying for your studies.

In Australia, student loans are provided via a government-run program.

Here you will find information which you require as a prospect or existing student looking to get finance.

5 Student Loans – Schemes

Student loans in Australia are available via the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). This program has 5 different schemes to support students in different circumstances.

1. HECS-HELP

This scheme is designed to pay Commonwealth supported students to pay their contribution.

2. FEE-HELP

This scheme offers loans to fee-paying students in order to help them cover these expenses.

3. SE-HELP

By participating in this scheme, students can get finance to pay the fees for student services and amenities which they use.

4. OS-HELP

This scheme helps Commonwealth supported students to cover their expenses when studying overseas.

5. VET-FEE-HELP

This scheme helps students enrolled in eligible higher-level vocational education and training courses to pay their tuition fees.

Since the FEE-HELP loans are the most widely used of all, this guide will focus on them.

FEE-HELP Loans

These loans are designed to help you pay your tuition fees only

They are not intended for covering other expenses such as accommodation, transportation and study materials.

Find out how they work.

1. Eligibility

In order to qualify for a FEE-HELP loan, you have to be an Australian citizen or a humanitarian visa holder enrolled in an eligible unit of study at an educational institution which participates in the program. It does not matter whether you are a full-time or part-time student. Approval is not subject to a means test.

You can qualify irrespective of your income or the income of your family.

2. Loan Amount

You can use the loan to pay the total tuition fee amount or a portion of it only. There are loan amount caps which you have to be aware of. Currently, students enrolled in medicine, dentistry and veterinarian science courses are able to borrow a maximum of AU$120,002.

All other students can borrow a maximum amount of AU$96,000.

3. Interest, Fees and Charges

No interest rate is charged on FEE-HELP loans. There is a fee of 25% of the loan amount which is charged only when the loan is extended to an undergraduate student. This fee is added to the total amount due. It does not result in a reduction of the borrowed amount.

The loan is subject to indexation in line with the Consumer Price Index. It is indexed on an annual basis after the first eleven months of its issuing.

4. Repayment

You will have to begin paying back your student loan after you graduate and start earning an employment income higher than a set threshold. This threshold is adjusted on an annual basis. Currently, it is AU$51,309. The size of the annual loan payment is calculated as a percentage of your employment income. The higher your income is the higher the percentage is. The payments are made through the national taxation system.

You can also make voluntary repayments to pay off the loan sooner. 

5. Applying

You need to obtain a Request for FEE-HELP assistance form, fill it out and submit it to the educational institution which you are enrolled in.

You need to have a tax file number (RFN) in order to apply.

You can readily take advantage of the student loans in Australia.

Additionally, financial support is available via the Youth Allowance and Austudy schemes, which offer grants based on means testing. Commercial banks can extend loans to students if they meet their eligibility criteria.

Parents can also take out loans to support the tertiary studies of their children.