The HECS-HELP Benefit is paid to eligible graduates who take up employment in particular fields and/or work in specified locations and have a HELP debt. Eligible graduates can apply to the ATO for a HECS-HELP Benefit and if approved, receive a benefit amount of up to approximately $1950 per year.

There are two different application forms for HECS-HELP benefit depending on the area of study:

• early childhood education

• maths, science, education or nursing (including midwifery).

The HECS HELP Benefit for early childhood education teachers reduces the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt of early childhood education teachers who work in areas of high need, including regional and remote areas, Indigenous communities and areas of high disadvantage, based on postcode location. Cootamundra, Young, Harden and Cowra are all eligible postcode locations.

The HECS-HELP Benefit for maths, science, education or nursing graduates reduces the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt of graduates who work in eligible occupations. In addition, maths or science graduates must have completed their study after 30 June 2008, while education or nursing (including midwifery) graduates must have completed their study after 30 June 2009.

From 1 July 2017, the HECS-HELP benefit will be removed. This means the 2016–17 income year is the last year for which you can claim the HECS-HELP benefit. However, you still have two years to lodge your application. Late applications will not be accepted.

Income year for which you are claiming the HECS-HELP benefit  Applications must be lodged with the ATO by 
 2015–16 income year 30 June 2018
 2016–17 income year 30 June 2019 

Some graduates may be eligible to apply for more than one type of benefit (for example an education graduate who is also eligible as an early childhood education teacher or a maths or science teacher).

For more information, instructions and application forms, go to www.ato.gov.au/Forms/HECS-HELP-benefit---Overview.