Financial help for students

If you've done a budget, but there's still a shortfall in your finances, don't panic. You might be entitled to an allowance or student loan from the Government to fund certain parts of your study.

Government allowances

The Australian Government offers a number of allowances to help students.

Youth Allowance

Youth Allowance helps young people who are studying full time, doing a full-time apprenticeship, training, or looking for work. You will receive a fortnightly payment based on your current relationship status, where you live and the number of children you have.

You may be able to get Youth Allowance if you are:

  • 16 to 21 years old and looking for full-time work or undertaking approved activities
  • 16 to 17 years old and have finished Year 12 or an equivalent qualification
  • 18 to 24 years old and studying full-time, or
  • 16 to 24 years old and doing a full-time Australian Apprenticeship.


Austudy helps full-time students, trainees and apprentices aged 25 or more. You may be able to get Austudy if you are:

  • aged at least 25
  • studying full-time in an approved course at an approved educational institution, or
  • doing a full-time Australian Apprenticeship or traineeship.


ABSTUDY can help with study and living costs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and apprentices. You are eligible for ABSTUDY if you:

  • are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian, and
  • are covered under one of the seven ABSTUDY awards.

Video: Student welfare officer Stuart's money tips

Video about living on a student income

Stuart, a university and TAFE student welfare officer provides tips on living on a student income.

Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)

HELP is a Government initiative introduced to support students struggling with their finances. Under the program there are several loans available to students that will cover a range of expenses, such as course fees, textbooks or resources.

For details on specific limits and eligibility criteria for all types of HELP visit the Government's Study Assist website.


FEE-HELP is an interest-free loan scheme available to fee-paying undergraduate and postgraduate students to help cover tuition costs.

The loan cannot be used to cover any extra costs such as accommodation or classroom resources.

There is a loan fee of 25% for FEE-HELP for undergraduate courses. For example, if you are using FEE-HELP to pay for $1,000 of tuition fees, you will owe $1,250. This loan fee does not apply to postgraduate courses.


HECS-HELP (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) is available to Commonwealth supported students to pay for their student contributions. It cannot be used to cover the cost of extras like textbooks or accommodation.


SA-HELP covers the cost of student services and amenities fees charged by the university or course provider.


An OS-HELP loan assists eligible students who wish to study part of their course overseas. The loan can be used for travel costs, accommodation or study expenses.

You can only receive one OS-HELP loan per 6-month period with a maximum of two during your lifetime.

Video: What you need to know before applying for a HELP loan

Video about HELP loans

What should you be aware of when it comes to applying for and repaying a HELP loan?

Other student loans

Student Start-up Loan

The Student Start-up Loan (SSL) is available to students who currently receive Youth Allowance, Austudy, or ABSTUDY Living Allowance payments. If you're eligible, you can receive a tax-free payment twice a year.

For more details on the eligibility criteria and loan amounts, visit the Department of Human Services' website.

The SSL will be added to your HELP debt and will need to be repaid once your income reaches the minimum repayment threshold.

Trade Support Loan

The Trade Support Loan (TSL) is available for eligible Australian apprentices. The loan can help cover living costs, such as rent and bills or expenses associated with the apprenticeship, like the cost of tools.

The Australian Apprenticeships website has more information about the eligibility criteria and how much you can borrow.

You will need to repay the loan through the tax system when your income reaches a certain amount. Visit the ATO's webpage on the minimum repayment thresholds.

Check out the eligibility criteria to find out what financial assistance from the Government you may be entitled to.

Related links

Last updated: 19 Mar 2018