What is FEE-HELP?

FEE-HELP is a Government loan scheme that assists eligible higher education students enrolled in eligible higher education courses to pay their tuition fees. Eligible students can choose to use a FEE-HELP loan to cover all or part of their tuition fees. 

If you are studying a Vocational Education and Training (VET) course and want information about Australian Government assistance, visit the VET Student Loans page.

Information regarding FEE-HELP is available on the Study Assist website including a handy FEE-HELP information booklet.

Am I Eligible?

To be eligible for a FEE-HELP loan, you must:

  • Be studying a FEE-HELP eligible course. All higher education courses offered at TAFE SA are FEE-HELP eligible


  • Meet the following citizenship and residency requirements:
    • You are an Australian citizen and undertake at least some of your course in Australia


    • You hold a New Zealand Special Category Visa and remain in Australia for the duration of your studies


    • You hold a permanent humanitarian visa and remain in Australia for the duration of your studies


    • You are a permanent visa holder undertaking bridging study for overseas-trained professionals, and you remain in Australia for the duration of your studies


    • Meet academic requirements by meeting course admission requirements for the course.

What is the FEE-HELP pass rate?

There is a pass rate requirement in order to remain eligible for FEE-HELP. You must maintain a 50 per cent pass rate to continue using FEE-HELP. This is based on the number of units you undertake. For example, if you undertake eight units, you must pass at least four; if you undertake 10 units, you must pass at least five, and so on. If you do not maintain the appropriate pass rate, you won’t be eligible for FEE-HELP and will have to pay upfront tuition fees until you do.


There is a Lifetime Loan Limit on the amount you can incur under a Commonwealth student loan scheme. This includes all debt incurred under higher education FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP or VET Student Loans. For up-to-date information about the loan limit, see How much can I borrow?

There is a loan fee of 25% for FEE-HELP loans for undergraduate courses (associate degrees and bachelor degrees). This loan fee does not count towards your FEE-HELP limit.

Loan Fee Exemption – Commonwealth Government announcement (May 2020)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is helping higher education students to continue their study or engage in new study during this time by providing a six‑month exemption from loan fees.

The loan fee exemption will be automatically applied to students who are accessing FEE‑HELP over the period from 1 April to 30 September 2020.

What Does FEE-HELP Cover?

FEE-HELP is a loan to assist with the payment of tuition fees for students enrolled in a course leading to a higher education award.

FEE-HELP does not cover textbooks, materials, equipment, travel, accommodation or general living expenses, or any additional costs identified as incidental fees. Also, FEE-HELP does not allow a fee to be charged for ‘Credit for Prior Learning’.

This is explained in more detail in the FEE-HELP booklet, available to download in PDF format on the publications page of the Study Assist website.

FEE-HELP only covers units you are enrolled in by the census date. It does not cover units you enrol in after the census date.

How do I Apply?

TAFE SA will counsel all students who plan to enrol in a FEE-HELP eligible course. This counselling will include information on the FEE-HELP loan scheme.

After counselling, you will be required to complete your registration. You can then choose to wait for TAFE SA to contact you, or to apply for FEE-HELP now.  TAFE SA will then advise you of Citizenship, photographic and educational documentation that you will need to provide to meet the FEE-HELP eligibility requirements. Once all document requirements have been met TAFE SA will upload your enrolment information to the Commonwealth Government. The Department of Education and Training will then email you a passkey and instructions about finishing your FEE-HELP application via the electronic Commonwealth Assistance From (eCAF).

You will need to provide a valid Tax File Number (TFN) when applying. This means that the TFN details you provide must match the details held with the Australian Taxation Office. These details include your TFN, name, date of birth and address. If these details do not match, you will not be able to access a FEE-HELP loan for your units of study.

You must receive confirmation of your successful FEE-HELP application from the Commonwealth prior to your earliest Census Date. Your fees will then be deferred to your FEE-HELP loan.

What is the Census Date?

The census date is the last date on which you can withdraw from a unit of study without incurring a debt for that unit of study. Your census date is calculated as the start date  you have nominated for that unit, plus 20% of the duration of the unit of study.

To find the census date for your units of study, follow the Census Date Calculator link on the MyTAFESA homepage. 

What is a Commonwealth Assistance Notice?

If you are approved for FEE-HELP assistance, you will be issued with a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) within 28 days of the census date.

A single, up-to-date copy of your CAN for each program of study and semester can be found in your MyTAFESA account.

The CAN will include details of the units of study covered by FEE-HELP and the amount of FEE-HELP assistance that you will receive. 

If you believe that the information in your CAN is incorrect, you must, within 14 days of the date on which the CAN was issued, submit a CAN review request via the contact us form or by emailing feehelp@tafesa.edu.au. You should include evidence showing why you think the CAN is incorrect.

When the FEE-HELP team receives the CAN review request, they will review the request and re-issue the CAN if they determine that the original CAN was incorrect.

Please view this sample CAN for your reference.

Schedule of FEE-HELP Tuition Fees

Statement of Tuition Assurance

Policies and Procedures

FEE-HELP related policies and procedures cover fair treatment, personal information, academic grievance, student complaint resolution and refunds/re-credits.

If you require further information, please email feehelp@tafesa.edu.au.

Will I Get a Refund/Re-credit if I Withdraw?

If you withdraw from a course before or on the census date, you will receive a refund of any tuition fees that you have paid up-front. If you have applied for a FEE-HELP loan, you will not incur a FEE-HELP debt for the unit(s) of study from which you are withdrawing.

If you withdraw from a course after the census date, you may still be eligible for a refund of up-front fees and/or re-credit of your FEE-HELP balance, if you meet the ‘Special circumstances’ criteria. You will need to complete and submit a Higher Education Student Application for TAFE SA Refund and/or FEE-HELP Loan Re-credit form.

TAFE SA will advise you of the decision in writing. If, however, you are not satisfied with the decision you can apply for a review of the decision by completing the Application to Review a Refund/Re-credit Decision within 28 days of the original decision.

If, after completing all of the steps above, you are not satisfied with the outcome, you may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review. Your application to the AAT must be made within 28 days from the day you receive the FEE-HELP Senior Review Officer’s notice of decision and the costs paid up front by the student.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Level 2 1 King William St Adelaide SA 5000
P: 1800 228 333

See withdrawals and refunds for more information.

If you have any queries, please contact us or call the TAFE SA Information Line on 1800 882 661.

Back to Top