Have you taken a government-funded loan to pursue tertiary education or another higher-level qualification? Simultaneously, are you planning on receiving funding for training purposes?

If yes, save a few minutes to review our most updated guide on changes to HECS-HELP loans and debt repayments. Below, we’ll define the loan, describe the differences, and share sources of support.


Let’s first break down these terms so you can confirm whether this debt applies to you:

  • HECS: Higher Education Contribution Scheme
  • HELP: Higher Education Loan Program

Students receive HECS funding to pay for university tuition fees, whereas, people take the HELP when enrolling on a paid course with a college or TAFE institute. You’ll repay these loans once you start earning income. 

Both loads are exclusive to Australian citizen students or those with a permanent humanitarian visa taking educational courses at Commonwealth supported places. 

What’s Different About HECS-HELP in 2023? 

The repayment rate and amounts granted are the two most significant changes that’ll affect you directly. Read on to learn what’s changed.

Repayment Threshold

StudyAssist confirms that as of the 2023–2024 income year, the repayment threshold will rise from $48,361 to $51,550. In summary, people earning an annual income of $48,361 during the 2023–2024 fiscal year won’t have HECS or HELP deductions. 

The percentage rate of compulsory repayments will continue to increase as you earn more following this new structure:

Earnings (annually)Percentage Rate
$51,549 and below0%
$100,558–$106,590 6.5%
$151,201 or above10%

(Information and table sourced from the Australian Taxation Office in September 2023.)

You’ll continue to repay fees through the income tax system. You must declare your loan to employers so they can withhold relevant amounts as part of the PAYG (pay as you go) structure. You must declare your debt on tax returns and pay the respective fees if you’re a sole trader.

Maximum Student Contribution Amount 

As of January 2023, the maximum contribution per equivalent full-time student load amount for one year has changed. See the table below:

Subject CategoryStudent Contribution Amount (per EFTSL)
Professional services $15,142
Education, English, mathematics$4,124
Social work, humanities, and psychology$8,301
Healthcare and languages$4,124
Engineering and environmental studies$8,301
Medicine, dentistry, and veterinary$11,800

(Information and table sources from StudyAssist.Gov.Au in September 2023.)

Students enrolled in continuing study since 2021 will continue to pay fees indexed at that time. 

What’s Staying the Same?

  • Voluntary Payments: Besides your compulsory payments, you can make voluntary payments if you earn above the minimum threshold of $48,361 per year and $51,550 from the 2023–2024 income year. You can pay the ATO directly through official sites like myGov.
  • Medicare Levy: You’re excluded from the compulsory payment if you, your dependents (children or people receiving your direct care), or your spouse are exempt from Medicare tax or are eligible for a reduced fee due to low family income.
  • Payment responsibility: Rates remain dependent on your personal income, not that of your parents, guardians, or other family members.  

Let’s Respond to Financial Changes Together

Are you an employer or sole trader needing support in managing these changes before filing taxes and paying fees? Contact us to speak with our chartered accountants on how we can streamline tax planning.