Around 30,000 Australian students will benefit from legislation passed through the Senate today that extends FEE-HELP loan fee exemptions for a further six months.
Usually, using FEE-HELP to pay for undergraduate study at a non-university higher education provider incurs a 20 per cent loan fee.
These loan fees were waived during 2020 to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on students and providers. The passing of the legislation today means the waivers will continue until 31 December 2021.
The Higher Education Support Amendment (Extending the Student Loan Fee Exemption) Bill 2021 is part of the Morrison Government’s $53.6 million support package for international education providers most affected by COVID-19 border closures.
The package also includes:
- $26.1 million for an extra 5000 short course places in 2021-22 at non-university higher education providers
- $9.4 million for the Innovation Fund to help providers grow offshore and online delivery. Applications for grants are now open.
- $17.7 million to further extend the pause on fees and charges from CRICOS (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students), TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency), and ASQA (Australian Skills Quality Authority) until 31 December 2021.
Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said the waivers continue the Government’s support for students and Australian businesses who support local jobs.
“Due to COVID-19, students and higher education providers have been put under significant financial pressure, and this waiver will help lessen that burden,” Minister Tudge said.
“It will encourage local students to commence or continue studying with these providers for the remainder of 2021, and in doing so will support these businesses to maintain capacity and recover from the pandemic.
“We are continuing to provide targeted support for those non-university providers who have seen international student enrolments decline sharply.
“And we are ensuring all Australians can access high-quality educational opportunities that provide the job-ready skills they need to enter the workforce.”
Students who receive HECS‑HELP assistance and attend public universities do not pay these loan fees.