The Australian Government has announced a range of measures that will come into effect from 2021 under the Job Ready Graduates Package. The measures include changes to student contribution rates, FEE-HELP loan fees, Tertiary Access payments (TAP) and more.

Commonwealth Assistance refers to the funding of subsidised tuition and loan schemes eligible students can access, to assist in paying their tuition, student amenities fee and overseas study costs.

Commonwealth Support refers to the specific tuition type you will be charged during your program at university. If you do not have a Commonwealth supported place (CSP), you are considered Fee Paying and not eligible for subsidised tuition. You should refer to your letter of offer for confirmation of your tuition type.

Access to Commonwealth Assistance is only available to domestic students. Full details of Government schemes are available on the Study Assist website. The pages below provide information on how to apply for and manage the different Government schemes that you may be eligible for at UNSW.

Students accessing Commonwealth Assistance (either a Commonwealth supported place [CSP] or a HELP loan) have obligations they must meet, as set out in the Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) and the CSP & HELP publications and booklets. These obligations include;

To receive Commonwealth Assistance you must:

  • be an Australian citizen who studies some of their course while living in Australia, OR 
  • a New Zealand citizen, an Australian permanent resident, a permanent humanitarian visa holder (or eligible former); who studies the entire course while living in Australia. Full residency requirements for non-Australian citizens can be found on the Study Assist website.
  • have read the Commonwealth supported places and HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP information booklet supplied during completing acceptance
  • have a verified Unique Student Identifier (USI) 
  • pay your fees by the census date (you may pay using a HELP loan, upfront or both)
  • be correctly enrolled by the census date 
  • submit the eCAF by the census date
  • have supplied a valid tax file number (TFN) or have applied for one if using a HELP loan

It is extremely important to ensure that, whilst you are studying, you personal data remains accurate and up to date with UNSW, the Australian Taxation Office and the USI Registry. UNSW will attempt to report and verify your data periodically (after the census date of your studies) and any mismatch may cause you to lose your access to a Commonwealth Assisted place.

Additionally, late enrolment after the census date is not permitted to receive Commonwealth Assistance. Any courses that fall into post-census enrolment will be classified as Domestic Fee Paying and will not be eligible for the subsidised student contribution amount or HELP loans.

Commonwealth supported places and HECS-HELP

Important information for commonwealth supported students.


Loan to defer payment of the student services and amenities fee.


Government loan scheme to assist eligible students with cost of overseas study.


Loan scheme for eligible domestic fee-paying students to defer payment.

Combined HELP loan limit

The cap on what you can borrow to cover the costs of your tuition fees.

Professional pathway programs

Professional pathway for psychology and social work degrees.

Permanent residency and commonwealth support

If you are an Australian permanent resident you may be eligible for support.

Tax file number (TFN) verification process

To be eligible for a HELP loan, the ATO must be able to verify your TFN.

Commonwealth assistance notice

Information about your enrolment and use of commonwealth financial assistance.


See also

Commonwealth supported programs (postgraduate)

Limited places are available in some postgraduate programs.

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