You can study now and pay later for accredited courses. The pay later option is available for nearly every online course listed on the Australian section of this site.
Loans to cover course tuition fees are available via Australian Government programs. To get funding, essentially you have to be an Australian citizen.
Study now often means studying when the next academic semester begins. But there are also online courses with several intakes every year.
Government loan schemes allow Australian students to study without having to pay tuition fees up front. You study now and pay later – once your income reaches a certain level.
Under each of the HELP schemes, you get a low-interest loan to pay tuition fees. You pay back the loan through the taxation system once your income goes above a threshold, which is around $55,000 (rising slightly each year).
Loans are available for university degrees and for training courses accredited with ASQA. Here’s a quick rundown of pay-later programs. For official information (which is more detailed and precise), see Study Assist.
You can apply for a VET Student Loan if you want to study online for a diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate or graduate diploma with an approved provider.
To be eligible for a loan, you must be:
- an Australian citizen (or a permanent humanitarian visa holder living here) and
- enrolled by the census date.
Undergraduate (bachelor) degrees
Students enrolling in undergraduate university courses can apply for HECS-HELP.
To be eligible for a loan, you must:
- be studying in a Commonwealth supported place*
- be an Australian citizen (or permanent humanitarian visa holder)
- enrol with a provider by the census date, and
- study some of the course in Australia.
* Commonwealth supported places are available to domestic undergraduate students. You get a substantial discount on tuition fees and are only liable for the student contribution amount. Places are available at all public universities (and some private higher education providers for priority study areas).
You may be eligible for a FEE-HELP loan to pay tuition fees if you are doing:
- postgraduate university study (including higher degrees by research)
- enabling courses, or
- bridging study (for overseas-trained professionals).
Accredited online courses almost always follow a semester or study-period calendar. That means you do have to wait a while to start studying. Students begin and finish together as a group (which, as experience has shown, produces better results).
- University courses start around early March of each year.
- Latecomers can often enrol during the mid-year intake, with classes often starting in July.
- Online universities also have a summer semester, commencing after the November exams.
Courses with many start points
Some course providers offer greater flexibility by having several start times during the year. You normally study one unit at a time. You can complete a unit from start to finish over several weeks. Then there’s a short break before the next study period begins.