Commonwealth Support and HECS-HELP

NOTE: From 1 January 2020, there will be a combined HELP loan limit introduced.

HECS-HELP information booklet
All applicants are required to read and understand this Commonwealth supported places and HECS-HELP information booklet (PDF) so that you are aware of your obligations as the recipient of assistance from the Commonwealth. Please be sure to read this as it explains in detail your obligations and responsibilities under the contract. Find out more on the Study Assist website.

Please note: Tuition for your studies will be shown as payable on your Fee Statement and NOT deferred to HECS-HELP until the census date for the enrolment has passed.

There can be multiple census dates within a term. Please refer to your Fee Statement for details. This does not mean you have to pay your student contribution upfront if you have enough balance to defer to HECS-HELP, it means the deferral will happen after the census date.  Payments made after the census date will not be applied to your student contribution charges. 

 

What is a CSP?

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is a domestic, subsidised higher education place. The Australian Government subsidises a portion of the tuition fee cost of your place. This subsidy results in you only paying the 'student contribution' amount for your units of study.

If you are not enrolled in a CSP, you are enrolled as a non-subsidised, domestic fee paying student.

What is the benefit of a CSP?

A CSP is generally much cheaper than a fee paying place and, if you are eligible, you may have the option to defer your student contribution amount to a HECS-HELP loan so you do not have to pay anything upfront.

How much will study in a CSP cost?

Please visit the Commonwealth Supported Fees page for the current UNSW student contribution amounts.

The HECS-HELP discount

If you are eligible for HECS-HELP (not just a Commonwealth supported place) and you make a payment towards your student contribution charges for your course(s) of $500 or more, you will receive a discount based on the amount you have paid, not necessarily on the overall amount. 

For example, if you pay 90% of the course cost, the 'bonus or discount' will equal 10% of the total cost, thereby paying the full amount of your student contribution charges.

However, paying less than 90% of the course cost will attract a 10% additional payment towards your student contribution charges, based on the amount you pay. For example, if your course costs $850.00 and you make a payment of $500.00, the amount paid towards your course will be (1.1111 x $500.00), which means you have paid $555.55 of the total amount, leaving $294.45 (rounded down to $294) remaining to be deferred if you have provided a Tax File Number. 

If you are eligible for the discount your UNSW Fee Statement will automatically show the upfront discounted amount based on paying 90% of your student contribution charges. If you do not see a discount then you are not eligible for the HECS-HELP discount. 

Am I eligible for a CSP?

You must meet the citizenship and residency requirements to access a CSP. In summary, you must be either:

  • an Australian citizen who will undertake in Australia at least one unit of study contributing to your program (course of study), or
  • a New Zealand citizen or a permanent visa holder who will be resident in Australia for the duration of your courses (unit(s) of study).

If you are an international student and you are obtaining or have obtained permanent residency, you must notify the University by the census date. We will require you to submit evidence of the change prior to the census date of your enrolment.

Please note, changing your residency or citizenship status does not automatically entitle you to a CSP. You will be transferred to a domestic fee paying place in the first instance and you must apply for a CSP via the University Admissions Centre (UAC).

Am I eligible for HECS-HELP?

HECS-HELP allows you to defer your student contribution to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and pay it later.

To be eligible for HECS-HELP, you must apply for or have received an offer to a CSP and you must be either:

  • an Australian citizen and complete at least one (unit of study) course in Australia, or
  • an Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder and reside in Australia for the duration of your units of study (courses), or
  • a New Zealand citizen and reside in Australia for the duration of your units of study (courses); and meet all of the long term residency requirements as follows:
    • you first began to be usually resident in Australia at least 10 years ago, and
    • were a child under the age of 18 with no spouse or de facto partner when you first began to be usually resident in Australia, and
    • at the time of applying for HECS-HELP, you have been in Australia for at least:
      • a total of eight out of the past 10 years, and
      • a total of 18 months out of the last two years.

UNSW will ask you to verify your details and provide documentation to support your claim. You should ensure you have a current passport and/or movement record if required.

'Being eligible does not guarantee that you will be offered a Commonwealth supported place in the course of your choice or at your chosen university.' More details on Study Assist.

You will also require a valid Tax File Number (TFN). If you do not have a TFN, please see these instructions on how to apply for a Tax File Number.

How do I apply for a CSP?

You must apply for a Commonwealth supported place via the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) or via UNSW Apply Online.

If you are offered a Commonwealth supported place at UNSW, you will be required to complete the ‘Request for Commonwealth Support and HECS-HELP’ form as part of the online acceptance and enrolment process.

You must complete the form by the relevant census date of your enrolment.

The form will cover the duration of your study in the program of study for which you completed the form. If you change your program of study and your new program is eligible for Commonwealth support, you will be asked to complete a new 'Request for Commonwealth Support and HECS-HELP' form as part of the online acceptance process.

Failure to complete the form by the relevant census date will result in the cancellation of your enrolment as a Commonwealth supported student.

Important information about this scheme

Applications for Commonwealth assistance (including applying for a CSP, HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP or SA-HELP) cannot be accepted after the census date (or incurral date for SA-HELP) under any circumstances.

If your changed circumstances affects your eligibility, you must notify the University immediately: Fees@unsw.edu.au

You must finalise your payment option by the census date of your enrolment by either:

  • ensuring full payment of the student contribution is made by the census date, or
  • providing your Tax File Number or Certificate of Application for your Tax File Number by the census date (if eligible to defer your student contribution).

If you are a New Zealand citizen who holds a Special Category Visa but you do not meet the long-term residency requirements, OR you are a holder of a permanent non-humanitarian visa, you must pay your student contribution amounts upfront on or before the census date, as you are not eligible for a HECS-HELP loan.

 You need to provide your TFN if:

  • you are eligible and want to take out a HECS-HELP loan for all or part of your student contribution, or
  • you are paying your student contribution up-front but, as a safety net, you want to ensure that if you fail to make the payment on or before the census date you can still obtain a HECS-HELP loan.

If you have not paid your student contribution in full on or before the census date of the relevant teaching period and you have not provided your TFN, UNSW will be obligated to cancel your enrolment as a Commonwealth supported student.