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For students in Higher Education and VET studies

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is responsible for managing Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debts. You pay back your HELP debt through the tax system once you earn above the compulsory repayment threshold.

The ATO website shows you the current study and training loan repayment thresholds and rates.

VET Student Loans (VSLs) are paid back under the same system.

Compulsory repayments

Compulsory repayments are the minimum repayment amount. The more you earn, the higher your repayment will be. When you submit your annual tax return, the ATO will calculate your income and tell you how much your compulsory repayment is.

Voluntary repayments

You can make a voluntary repayment to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) at any time. This payment is in addition to your compulsory repayment and reduces the lifespan of your loan.

What if I can’t afford repayments?

Your HELP debt does not go away - even if you become bankrupt.

If your compulsory repayment will cause you serious financial hardship, you can apply to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to:

  • defer your repayment
  • enter into a repayment plan.

Visit the ATO's website or call them on 13 28 61 for more information.

Is interest charged on my HELP debt?

There is no interest charged on HELP debts. However, indexation is added to your debt on 1 June each year. Indexation adjusts your debt amount to keep it in line with changes in the cost of living.

HELP debts are not indexed until they are 11 months old.

The ATO website shows you the current and past indexation rates.