An update for Australian students at Bond

Legislation passed by the Australian Parliament on 14 August 2018 will see changes made to the HELP student loan schemes that will benefit many of Bond’s Australian students.

The Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment (Student Loan Sustainability) Bill 2018 was introduced to amend the legislation governing higher education funding in Australia. The Bill will introduce a number of changes to national student loan system, including a significant positive amendment for undergraduate students at Bond which will eliminate the loan fee that they must currently pay to access HELP loans.

The University and successive BUSA Student Presidents have long argued against the inequity of the loan fee. On behalf of the students, the University is writing to each of the Members of Parliament who supported the removal of the loan fee to thank them for their engaging with this issue and helping to deliver a fairer HELP loan system.

The key changes impacting Bond students are:

  • From 1 January 2019, the 25% FEE-HELP loan fee will be abolished for domestic undergraduate students at Bond University and other ‘Table B Providers’ (Torrens University, Notre Dame University, and the University of Divinity). These new arrangements will include Bond Diploma and University Preparation Program students.
  • Currently, only students using FEE-HELP (this includes Bond students) are subject to a cap on the maximum amount they can be borrow. Students accessing other types of HELP loans (e.g. public university students accessing HECS-HELP) can borrow an unlimited amount. From 1 January 2020, there will be a uniform loan cap placed on all students’ borrowings from all HELP schemes, including HECS-HELP.
  • From 1 January 2019, the HELP loan cap for fee-paying students studying medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses will increase from $127,992 to $150,000. For all other programs the loan cap will increase from $102,392 to $104,440.
  • The new limit on HELP loans will be replenished as students pay down their debts. This means that students will always be able to borrow, through any HELP scheme, up to the amount equivalent to the difference between their current HELP loan balance and the loan cap. If students make repayments against their HELP loans they will be able to re-draw upon those funds in the future.
  • From 1 July 2019, there will be a new minimum repayment income threshold will be set at $45,881. Graduates and students with a HELP debt will start repaying their HELP loans at a rate of one percent of their taxable income when they reach this income threshold. The threshold will be indexed annually by the Consumer Price Index.
  • Graduates’ rate of repayment will increase as their annual income increases according to a new threshold schedule. For some people on medium incomes this will mean slightly lower repayments. However, there will also be a new 10 percent repayment rate for those who have an annual income greater than $134,573, so high income earners will repay their loans faster.

For more information, refer to:

 

Frequently Asked Questions

This legislation is very new, and the Department of Education and Training has not yet provided supporting information or guidelines. The advice here is based on our interpretation of the new legislation and is subject to further guidance from the Department. We will provide further updates as more information becomes available.

No. HELP loans are an Australian government initiative available to domestic students only (Australian citizens and eligible New Zealand citizens).

If you are a domestic student enrolled in a Bachelor, Diploma or University Preparation Program (UPP) course at Bond, and you are using the HELP loans scheme, all of the changes in this FAQ will affect you.

If you are a domestic student enrolled in a Diploma or University Preparation Program (UPP) course at Bond, and you are using the HELP loans scheme, all of the changes in this FAQ will affect you.

The changes to the FEE-HELP loan fee will not affect you because loan fees were never in place for postgraduate programs. The changes to the HELP loan cap and the repayment rates will impact on you if you have a FEE-HELP loan.

From 1 January 2019, domestic undergraduate, diploma and University Preparation Program (UPP) students who access FEE-HELP to pay their tuition fees will no longer be charged the FEE-HELP loan fee.

Prior to this change, Bond students enrolled as an undergraduate, diploma or UPP student have been charged a 25% loan fee by the Government on every dollar they borrow under FEE-HELP. The loan fee has never applied to students accessing FEE-HELP for postgraduate studies.

This change will come into effect from semester 191.

The loan fee will not apply to FEE-HELP loans accrued on or after 1 January 2019. Your tuition fees and FEE-HELP debt are linked to each subject that you enrol in, and your debt is not accrued until the census date during the semester in which you are enrolled. For the majority of Bond subjects, the census date falls on the Friday of Week 4. 

For further information about Bond’s census date see the Bond University Census Date site. For general information on census dates please see Deadlines and Withdrawals on the Study Assist site.

No. The 25% loan fee applied to previously incurred FEE-HELP debt remains.

Yes. The new loan fee arrangements do not come into effect from 1 January 2019.

There are no special arrangements in place for 183 and all of the normal rules regarding deferral of subjects or leave of absence applications remain. Students are strongly advised to discuss any plans with the Student Business Centre.

For most existing Bond students there will be little change in the amount you are able to borrow. From 1 January 2019, for disciplines other than Medicine, the maximum amount that you can borrow will be indexed from $102,392 to $104,440. However, the loan cap for Bond Medicine students will increase from $127,992 to $150,000.

From 1 January 2020 there will be a new combined HELP loan cap. This cap will limit the total amount that each student can borrow from combined HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Student loans. Currently, only loans from the FEE-HELP scheme have been subject to a maximum loan cap.

Yes. On 1 January 2020, your current FEE-HELP balance will become your HELP Balance and be subject to the new combined HELP loan cap.

No. HECS-HELP incurred prior to 1 January 2020 will not be counted within the new loan cap. However, new HECS-HELP debt incurred on or after 1 January 2020 will count towards a student’s loan limit.

If you make any repayments against your HELP loan after 1 July 2019, you will be able to access those funds again after 1 January 2020.

Currently, the cap on FEE-HELP loans is not reset when loans are repaid. However, from 1 January 2020, loan repayments will off-set your loan balance, so you will always be able to borrow, through any HELP scheme, up to the amount equivalent to the difference between your current HELP loan balance and the new combined HELP loan cap.

Only repayments made after 1 July 2019 will offset a student’s 2020 HELP balance and allow for future borrowing under the new combined HELP loan cap.

If you have a HELP loan, you are required to repay that loan through the Australian Tax Office in the future when your income exceeds a certain threshold amount. The rate at which you are required to repay your loan will increase as your income increases.

The new legislation will change all of the current income thresholds and repayment rates. As part of those changes, you may have to start paying your loan back at a lower income than before and, when you are earning a higher income you will repay your loans faster.

The new thresholds and rates are effective from 1 July 2019, and are detailed in the new legislation (See pp 3-8 re Schedule 1).

 

Need help?

For more information or assistance contact the Student Business Centre:

+61 7 5595 4049
Normal opening hours: Monday - Friday 8.30am - 5.00pm