The difference between HECS and FEE-HELP

When I began thinking about going back to Uni, I fretted about whether my postgraduate studies would be covered by HECS or FEE-HELP.  I had utilised HECS-HELP loans to fund the tuition for my undergraduate bachelor of laws.  In addition, I had also utilised FEE-HELP to fund two graduate certificates.

Piggy BankAll up I had borrowed around $60,000.00 worth of HELP loans.  I vaguely understood there was a life-long limit that you could reach where HELP loans would no longer be available to you and I certainly wasn’t in a position pay the MBA fees outright.   I know of people who preferred to self-fund their MBA as an added incentive to do well in the course.  Financially, that’s not an option for me so I’m very grateful for these study assistance schemes.  Further, I have been regularly paying my HELP debt back since 2009 (hellooo, disappointing tax returns) so I don’t miss that (capped) 8% chunk from my pay these days.

It’s easy to find out your HELP debt
Imagine my relief when I logged in to the myUniAssist portal to find out that I had around $76,000.00 available to borrow through FEE-HELP. This is JUST enough left to cover the Melbourne Business School MBA tuition.  If that isn’t motivation to pass every subject, I don’t know what is! If you are wondering how much you have incurred, I highly recommend putting yourself out of your misery and logging in.

Anyway, there are some major differences between HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP which are beneficial to know.  For one, as at the time I’m writing this post, there doesn’t appear to be a limit on the HECS-HELP amount you can borrow, however you must be studying in a Commonwealth Supported Place (usually an undergraduate course).  There is however a life-time limit for FEE-HELP, i.e. no matter how much you repay, your borrowings cannot exceed the limit.

Here’s a HECS-HELP vs FEE-HELP comparison table, current at the time of writing this post.  All of the information is on the Commonwealth Government’s Study Assist website.

That Career Girl



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