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Curtin University
Fees @ Curtin

Legislative Changes

New Zealand Special Category Visa holder eligibility

From 1 January 2016, eligible New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holders who meet the requisite criteria will be able to access Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loans.

It is important to note that not all New Zealand citizens, or holders of a Special Category Visa are automatically entitled to access HELP loans. Please refer to the required eligibility criteria below.

To find out if you are eligible and how to apply for HELP loans, view the eligibility criteria for New Zealand Special Visa Category (SCV) holders.

Important information

New Zealand citizens who gain permanent residency (PR) in Australia would lose their SCV status.

That is, if you lose your SCV status for any reason, you would become ineligible for HELP for all units of study with census dates after the date your SCV status is lost.

For further information, please visit StudyAssist website.

Changes affecting Commonwealth Supported Students

The following information details the changes and proposed changes to Commonwealth supported places, including those that have occurred in previous years.

Removal of the HELP discount and voluntary bonus

Subject to the passage of legislation, from July 2014, the Australian Government will remove the upfront HECS-HELP discount of 10% for eligible students that pay their student contributions upfront and the voluntary HELP repayment bonus of 5%.

Please Note, the removal of the upfront payment discount is determined on the study period census date, not the date on which payment is made.

Students who make payment directly to the Australian Tax Office should arrange for payments prior to the end of the 2013/2014 financial year in order to receive the 5% discount.

Any materials published regarding voluntary repayment bonus will not take precedent if new legislation is approved.

The University Fee Centre will provide an update as soon as further information is made available to public; in the meantime, students are encouraged to check their Official Communications, located within OASIS, for more updates.

For more information regarding the removal of the voluntary repayment bonus, please visit the Study Assist website.

Reduction of HELP discount and voluntary bonus

From 1 January 2012, the up-front HECS-HELP discount for eligible students (Australian citizens and Permanent Humanitarian visa holders) upon upfront payment of their student contribution (totalling $500 or more) attracted a 10% discount, instead of the 20% discount offered pre-2012. This was in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

In addition, the HELP voluntary repayment bonus (applied to upfront voluntary payments of $500 or more), received by eligible students who paid directly to the Australian Taxation Office, was reduced from 10% to 5%.

Removal of Student Learning Entitlement

Student Learning Entitlement (SLE) was introduced to Australia on 1 January 2005. The system allocated eligible students an Equivalent Full Time Study Load (EFTSL) value of 7.0, which entitled them to 7 years of equivalent full time study as Commonwealth Supported students. A student's SLE was reduced by the EFTSL value of their unit(s) of study.

On 14 September 2011 Parliament passed legislation which abolished SLE, effective from 1 January 2012. Under the provisions of the Bill, higher education students no longer have a limit placed on how much study they can undertake as a Commonwealth Supported student.

Continuing students need not be concerned by any limits formerly placed on them by the operation of SLE. Students who have used up their SLE will now be able to continue study in a Commonwealth Supported place without restriction.

Further information about the abolition of the SLE system is available via the Australian Government's Study Assist website's glossary.

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Changes to FEE-HELP loan fee

Changes to legislation made in 2010 under the Higher Education Support Amendment (FEE-HELP Loan Fee) Bill 2010, mean that the loan fee for FEE-HELP increased from 20% to 25% for undergraduate units of study with census dates on or after 1 January 2011.

HESA special arrangements

In the 2008 Federal Budget, changes were made to reduce the maximum student contribution amount for units of study in mathematics, statistics and science. The lower contribution amount applies to students who commence/d their course on or after 1 January 2009 and some existing students who transfer/red from a course of study that is not in the natural and physical sciences to one that is. Current students (other than the transferring students described above) continue under existing arrangements.

Between 1 January 2009 and December 2012, students who transferred from a course of study that was not in the natural and physical sciences to one that was were eligible to retain their Pre-2008 status for units of study in accounting, administration, economics, and commerce; as well as their post-2008 status for units of study in mathematics, statistics and science.

In the 2007 Federal Budget, changes were made to increase the maximum student contribution amount for units of study in accounting, administration, economics, and commerce. These increases did not apply to pre-2008 students until the end of 2012.

As of 31 December 2008, students who were in the transitional HECS/PELS arrangement (pre 1997 and pre-2005) were no longer entitled to lower fees, and New Zealand citizens or holders of a permanent residence visa (excluding Permanent Resident Humanitarian status) were no longer eligible for HELP loans.

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