HELP Loans Eligibility

Please note

If the proposed Higher Education Reforms are passed by an act of Parliament, New Zealand citizens and permanent residents enrolling in a new course from 1 January 2018 will pay the full domestic course fees.

If you are currently enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP). You can either:

  • continue your course in a CSP and continue to pay your student contribution amount upfront; or
  • transfer your enrolment to a domestic full fee paying place and access a HELP loan to pay your fees.

New Zealand Special Category Visa holders who meet the long-term residency requirements (outlined below) for a CSP/HELP are not affected.

Read the Higher Education Reforms FAQs for more information. Find out how you can help stop the reforms.

The information provided below outlines the current situation.

The issue

New Zealanders residing in Australia as special category visa-holders (SCV) have been unable to access HELP loans since 2005. As of the 1 January 2016 some New Zealanders can now access HELP loans, subject to meeting all of the eligibility criteria. To access HELP loans New Zealand citizens must have:

  • first entered Australia at least 10 years ago as a dependent child aged under 18 years of age;
  • been ordinarily resident in Australia for the previous 10 years, that is, you have been physically present in Australia for at least eight out of the past 10 years, and for 18 months out of the last two years at the time of application for the loan; and
  • are otherwise eligible for the loan.

The government estimates that only 2,500 New Zealanders currently meet the eligibility criteria.

Please note

If an SCV Kiwi becomes a permanent visa holder they will lose their eligibility for HECS. Find out more here.

How you can help

Contact the Minister for Education & Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham and cc the Shadow Assistant Minister for Universities Hon Terri Butler MP.

You can also email a PDF of your letter the New Zealand Minister of Education, Hon Nikki Kaye MP, and Minister for Tertiary Education, Hon Steven Joyce MP

Explain how not being eligible for HELP loans affects your family. Ask what their position is on allowing all New Zealanders residing in Australia to access HELP loans. You can: 

  • write to them using our HELP letter template
  • meet with them, or a staff member, at their electorate office
  • speak to them at a mobile office or public event
  • call their electorate office or Parliament House office
  • message them via email or their website
  • post a comment on their Facebook or Twitter


Find your Federal electorate

Find the contact details for a Federal MP or Senator

Download our HELP letter template

Include a copy of the Oz Kiwi Rights Comparison Table March 2016 with your letter or email

Include a copy of the Oz Kiwi Policy Options Paper with your letter or email

Download our follow up letter template if you get no reply or no clear answer your questions.

Comments are closed.