Paying off your uni debt
You have to start repaying your HELP debt through the tax system
once you earn above a certain amount, even if you are still
studying. Here is some information about when you need to
start paying off your HELP debt and how you can repay the
When you'll have to paying your
You'll need to start repaying your HELP debt as soon as your
employment income reaches the compulsory repayment threshold. The
repayment amount is between 4% and 8% of your income, depending on
how much you earn. Find out more about the annual thresholds and
repayments at Study Assist: loan
While no interest is charged on your HELP or HECS debt, it is
indexed on 1 June each year, so the amount you owe increases to
keep up with inflation.
A budget can help you work out how much you can afford to pay on
your HELP debt.
Tell your employer about your
You must tell your employer you have a HELP debt so they can
deduct it from your pay. You do this by completing a new tax file number declaration form. You will also
need to complete this form each time you start a new job.
When you have finished repaying your HELP debt, you'll need to
complete another tax file declaration form to let your employer
know to stop deducting HELP repayments from your pay.
Making voluntary payments
You can make a voluntary repayment to the ATO at any time and
for any amount.
It could also be cheaper for you to make voluntary repayments
before indexation is applied on 1 June each year. Be sure to
leave enough time for your payment to be processed and credited to
your account before 1 June. Read more about voluntary repayments on the ATO
Case study: Lei makes an extra repayment
When Lei started working she had a HELP debt of $15,000. She
wanted to repay the debt fairly quickly to get it out of the way
and minimise her total repayment. She visited the Australian
Taxation Office (ATO) website and found out that HELP debts were
indexed to inflation on 1 June each year.
Lei made a $1,000 voluntary repayment in May to reduce the
amount of debt that was indexed in June.
Making extra voluntary repayments can be a good idea, but weigh
up the pros and cons.
It can be a good idea if:
- You have no other debts
- You have some spare cash you're willing to put towards the
- You want to reduce the pressure of having a HELP debt
It's probably not the best use of your money if:
- You have a credit card debt or a personal loan
- You're not earning enough to be paying off any HELP debt
If you have credit card debt or a personal loan, it's usually
better to pay off those debts first because you pay interest on
The HELP system has made a tertiary education
possible for many. When your income reaches a certain level you'll
need to start paying back your HELP debt or you can make voluntary
repayments at any time.
Last updated: 15 Feb 2017