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FEE-HELP is a student loan, provided by the Australian Federal Government, that lets you study now and pay later. Students who are eligible and apply for the FEE-HELP loan, the Australian Government pays the loan amount directly to CIHE on your behalf.

It is available to eligible domestic students, who can use it to pay all or part of their tuition fees. Repayment of your FEE-HELP loan will commence through Australian Taxation Office (ATO) when your income reaches the repayment threshold. A FEE-HELP loan does not cover costs like accommodation, laptops, or textbooks.


Step 1:  Read the Government Information Booklet

Access and read the Australian Government 2023 HELP Booklets


Step 2:  Check your eligibility for FEE-HELP

Access and find out information – Australian Government Study Assist

You must also:

  • be an Australian citizen and study at least part of your course in Australia

  • be a New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holder or permanent humanitarian visa holder and meet the residency requirements.
    Permanent residents can only get FEE-HELP for approved bridging studies

  • be enrolled in a fee-paying place at a provider that offers FEE-HELP loans

  • be enrolled in an eligible course at your provider by the census date (your provider can tell you if your course is eligible)


USI Requirement

New higher education students now need a Unique Student Identifier (USI) to be eligible for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) and Commonwealth financial assistance (HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP or OS-HELP). 


From 1 January 2023, all higher education students, including those who commenced prior to 2021, must have a USI in order to graduate and receive their award. This includes all students who started before 2021, and all onshore international students. Continuing students should also get their USI as soon as possible. 

A USI is a student’s lifelong education number.

Create and submit your USI for verification – Australian Government – USI


Tax File Number (TFN) Verification

When we submit your HELP loan data to the government, your TFN is verified against Australian Taxation Office data. Your TFN must be verified before your census date for you to be eligible to receive the loan.

Ensure you have a TAX File Number – You can apply for a tax file number on the ATO website.


Step 3: Know and Track your FEE-HELP loan limit

There’s a combined limit to how much you can borrow under HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, and VET Student Loans. This is called your HELP loan limit.

  • If you’ve reached your combined HELP loan limit, you’ll need to pay your tuition fees before the census date to ensure that your enrolment isn’t cancelled.

How to check your combined HELP loan limit?

  • Find out your current HELP limit, and how much of your HELP balance you have left to borrow by visiting myHELP balance portal.

  • More information can be found on the Study Assist


Step 4: Submit your application via the government’s eCAF portal

  • If you indicated you want to access a loan, the Department of Education Skills and Employment will send instructions to your CIHE student email account. Follow these to log in to the government’s eCAF portal.

  • Submit the Request for FEE-HELP Ecaf to your provider by the census date


Important Information

You are required to maintain a pass rate of more than 50 per cent to able to continue your FEE HELP Loan

Census Date


CIHE set a census date for each unit of study it provides, or proposes to provide, during a year. It is important to be aware of your subject census date(s) and how they impact your enrolment, fees and academic record.


• it is the last date before which you can withdraw from a subject and not incur a HELP debt in respect of that subject
• it is the last date before which you must submit requests for FEE-HELP
• your enrolment in a subject will be cancelled by CIHE if that person fails to successfully submit a ‘request for Commonwealth assistance form’ by the census date; and
• it is the date after which any special circumstances are taken to apply.

Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN)


CIHE will issue students the CAN within 28 days of the earliest census date indicated in the CAN. A notification email will be sent to your CIHE student email account and your nominated personal email when your CAN is available.


When you believe the information on the CAN is incorrect, you may, within 14 days of the CAN being given, ask in writing for the CAN to be corrected.


Useful Links

Student Information booklet 

Study Assist

USI Website

ATO Website

Census date

Commonwealth Assistance Notice 

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