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What is FEE-HELP and Why is it a Good Thing?
If you have just finished Year 12 and you’re borderline freaking-out about the cost of your further education, there’s an important government program that will help you cover the costs.
How it Works
If you have intentions to study, the Higher Education Loans Program (HELP) will be able to front the cost of your further education. HELP, also known as Study Assist, comes in various acronyms (FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP, etc.) that all mean the same thing - study now, pay later.
Effectively, the government provides an interest-free loan (but attached to the Consumer Price Index) which is repaid once you start earning above a certain income threshold. However, if you are someone who has a HELP debt and is earning above the threshold, you will barely notice the repayments.
Am I Eligible?
It’s essential that the course and institution you study at has access to HELP because not all of them do. Apart from public universities, all eight Think Education colleges (and many other private education institutions) have access to HELP funding.
As a student, you also need to be:
an Australian citizen or permanent resident, or
a holder of a permanent humanitarian visa and living in Australia for the duration of their program.
This is a reason to be glad you live in Australia; further education isn’t like this in countries like the United States.
How Much HELP Can I Get?
As of 2015, you have a limit of $97,728 available for use in your lifetime. Medicine, Veterinary Science and Dentistry students enjoy a higher limit of $122,162 (because they are more expensive courses).
Can I Switch Courses?
Yes. If you decide Arts/Law is not for you, you can leave the traditional university life and head to a private college and study something more focused something like Business, Design, Health or Hospitality.
What About Paying it Back?
Once you earn over $53,345 a year (from 2015), the government will start taking a small amount out of your paycheck. It’s a small price to pay to get a great education and a job doing what you love.
Many schools offer scholarships every year/semester/trimester to provide an avenue for students to get into their chosen course. Often, scholarships are not applied for because most students are so worried about their Year 12 scores or other life hassles that they forget to see what’s out there. This is a great way to save money on your HELP debt… and who doesn’t like free money?
Why Don’t I Just Pay Upfront?
Paying upfront is great if you can afford it. But if you paid upfront for a education and it didn’t provide a job at the end, wouldn’t you feel a little cheated? Also, if educational institutions are going to act more like businesses, shouldn’t you act more like a customer and get what you pay for?
Think Education offers courses across Business, Design, Health and Hospitality that all enjoy access to FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP (depending on the course). Get in touch to find out more or download this ebook.
Think Education encompasses eight different colleges in NSW, QLD and VIC across four faculties; Business, Health, Hospitality and Design. The colleges which Think Education proudly represents are:
Billy Blue College of Design | CATC Design School | APM College of Business and Communication | William Blue College of Hospitality Management | Australasian College of Natural Therapies | Southern School of Natural Therapies | Jansen Newman Institute | Australian National College of Beauty