Glossary of terms

Following is an alphabetical list of useful definitions of the major terms associated with the Higher Education Reforms.

Census date

The date on which a student's enrolment is taken to be finalised. HECS-HELP, SA-HELP and FEE-HELP debts are on census dates. Eligible students must make their upfront payments and submit the appropriate HELP form by census date. Upfront payments are to be made by the Payment Due Date. Refer Payment Due Date below.

Commonwealth assisted student

A student who is a Commonwealth supported student or who is in receipt of a Higher Education Help Program (HELP) loan or a Commonwealth Learning Scholarship (CLS).

Commonwealth contributions

Contributions that the Commonwealth makes towards the cost of a student's education through the Commonwealth Grant Scheme.

Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN)

A unique identifier for each student that accesses Commonwealth assistance for higher education.

Commonwealth supported place

A higher education place for which the Commonwealth makes a contribution direct to the University towards the cost of the student's education

Commonwealth supported student

A student who occupies a Commonwealth supported place

Domestic student

A student who is an Australian citizen, a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident

Equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL)

One EFTSL is a measure of the standard annual study load of a student undertaking a course on a full-time basis


A loan scheme to help eligible fee paying (ie. non-Commonwealth supported) students in award programs to pay their tuition fees

FEE-HELP limit

The lifetime maximum amount of FEE-HELP that a student can receive for tuition fees

Fee paying place

A place that is occupied by a fee paying student

Fee paying student

A student who pays tuition fees. Fee paying students are also known as ‘non-Commonwealth supported students'


A loan scheme to help Commonwealth supported students, who are Australian or humanitarian visa holders, pay their student contribution amounts.

Higher Education Information Management System (HEIMS)

An electronic information system that will provide students and higher education providers with a range of relevant information, such as the availability and usage of Commonwealth assistance by students and information on program management reporting

Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)

A loan program to help eligible students pay student contributions (HECS-HELP), Student Services and Amenities Fee (SA-HELP), tuition fees (FEE-HELP) and overseas study expenses (OS-HELP)

Holder of a humanitarian visa

A permanent resident who holds a visa of a humanitarian sub-class as determined by the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

International student

Any student who is not a domestic student

Loan Fee

A fee that applies to all OS-HELP (up to 1/1/2010) and undergraduate FEE-HELP loans.

National Priority areas

Areas for which the Commonwealth offers additional assistance, either through offering additional places, increasing Commonwealth contributions or reducing the maximum student contribution amounts.

National Priority places:

Commonwealth supported places in National Priority areas


A cash loan available to eligible students who undertake some of their course overseas

OS-HELP maximum

The maximum loan amount that a student can receive in respect of a given six-month period.

Payment Due Dates

The date a student’s fees must be paid by to avoid enrolment restrictions. The Payment Due Date is 10 calendar days prior to the census date for each study period or trimester.

Permanent resident

A person who holds either a permanent humanitarian visa or a permanent non-humanitarian visa

Pre-2008 student

A continuing student who started a course as a Commonwealth Supported student before 1/1/2008 and did not complete that course by 31/12/2007, except if it was enabling or leading to Honours. Pre-2008 students pay the lower Band 2 student contribution rate for subjects in Accounting, Administration, Economics and Commerce.

Pre-2009 student

A continuing student who enrols on or after 1 January 2009 in a Maths, Statistics or Science subject that forms part of a course that the student:

  • Started prior to 1 January 2009, or

  • Transfers into on or after 1 January 2009 from a course that they started before 1 January 2009.

NOTE: Students changing from a non-Natural Physical Science (NPS) course before 1 January 2009 to a NPS course after 1 January 2009 are excluded, therefore they are not pre-2009 students.


A scheme that provides loans to eligible students to defer payment of their Student Services and Amenities fees (SSA Fee)

Student contribution band

One of four bands of disciplinary areas into which given subjects will fall. Student contribution bands are used to determine the maximum student contribution amounts, for both new and current students

Study abroad program

Study at an overseas higher education institution by a domestic student enrolled with an Australian higher education provider, for which the student gains credit towards the Australian course. Such a student is not covered by an agreement between institutions and will typically pay fees set by the overseas institution while studying overseas

Study Period

The period of time during which a subject is undertaken, including any assessment or exam periods. Each subject is allocated to a Study Period

Teaching Period

One half of an academic year. Teaching Period 1 is the first six months of the year and Teaching Period 2 is the second six months of the year. Subjects with a census date prior to 1 July fall within Teaching Period 1 and subjects with a census date on or after 1 July fall within Teaching Period 2.

Tuition fees

Fees paid by domestic undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students and miscellaneous students.