Programme 3.4 Higher Education Loan Programme

The Australian Government, through Programme 3.4, supports access to and participation in higher education and vocational education and training. This occurs through the provision of income-contingent loans to assist students with the cost of their tuition.

Provision of Higher Education Loan Programme loans to higher education students

The Higher Education Loan Programme ( HELP) supports access to higher education for Australian citizens and permanent humanitarian visa holders. HELP consists of a number of programmes:

  • HECS- HELP for eligible Commonwealth-supported students
  • FEE- HELP for eligible fee-paying students enrolled at an eligible provider
  • VET FEE- HELP for eligible students undertaking certain vocational education and training ( VET) courses
  • OS- HELP to assist Commonwealth-supported students who wish to study overseas
  • SA- HELP to assist students to pay their student services and amenities fee.

Repayment of Higher Education Loan Programme debts

Debts from each of these programmes are combined by the Australian Taxation Office and treated as one debt. The repayment arrangements under HELP ensure that people only commence repaying their HELP loan once their income exceeds the minimum threshold ($51,308 in 2013–14). People may also make voluntary repayments towards their HELP debts.

Performance information

Table 14: Programme 3.4 Higher Education Loan Programme performance information

Provision of Higher Education Loan Programme ( HELP) loans to higher education students

Deliverables 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Number of Commonwealth supported places for which HECS- HELP loans paid 472,700 484,681
Number of places for which FEE- HELP loans paid 90,700 76,106
Number of OS- HELP loans to assist students to undertake some of their course overseas 7,200 6,373
Number of SA- HELP loans to assist students to pay their services and amenities fees 402,900 414,197
Number of places for which VET FEE- HELP loans paid 87,700 65,838

Students who are able to repay their Higher Education Loan Programme ( HELP) debts do so

Key performance indicators 2013—14
estimate
2013—14
actual
Average amount of outstanding debt ($)a 16,800 16,900
Average number of years to repay debt 8.6 8.5
Proportion of new debt not expected to be repaid 17% 17%

Note: Student data is provided by calendar year (e.g. the 2013–14 data relates to the 2013 calendar year).
a This indicator has been amended to specifically refer to outstanding debt.