STARTUP-HELP loans let you defer some or all of the cost of your Startup Year course until you earn above the minimum repayment threshold.

If you receive a STARTUP-HELP loan, the Australian Government pays the loan amount directly to Swinburne on your behalf. Then, you repay the loan through the tax system.

Eligible students can use a maximum of two STARTUP-HELP loans throughout their lifetime. If you are enrolled in two courses at once, you can only use the loan for one of those courses.

Make sure to view the other loans, discounts and scholarships you may be able to receive.

You can read more about STARTUP-HELP loans on the Australian Government’s StudyAssist website or via the STARTUP-HELP loan information booklet.

Learn how to apply for a STARTUP-HELP loan

How do STARTUP-HELP loans work?

If you can’t or don’t want to pay for your Startup Year course up front, a STARTUP-HELP loan allows you to pay back the Australian Government through the tax system once your taxable income is higher than the minimum repayment threshold.

Places for STARTUP-HELP loans are not subsidised by the Commonwealth, but if you’re eligible, you can use this loan to pay for your Startup Year course fees.

Please note that a STARTUP-HELP loan does not cover costs associated with things like accommodation, laptops or other devices, textbooks, or capital for startup businesses.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) calculates your compulsory repayment for the year and includes this on your income tax notice of assessment. On top of the compulsory amount, you can make additional voluntary repayments up until Census Date to reduce the amount of HELP loan deferred to the ATO.

You must supply your Tax File Number (TFN). If you fail to pay your fees in full up-front (or apply for a STARTUP-HELP loan) and supply your TFN by the Census Date, your enrolment will be cancelled.

Your HELP loan must be repaid to the Government once you earn enough income to make repayments (this is known as the minimum repayment threshold).

Please be aware that having a HELP debt may affect your access to bank and home loans in future. Before you apply for a STARTUP-HELP loan, we encourage you to think about how having a HELP loan could impact you in the long term. You can read more about this in the ‘Repaying your HELP debt’ section of the Australian Government’s STARTUP-HELP loan information booklet.

Are you eligible for a STARTUP-HELP loan?

To be eligible for a STARTUP-HELP loan, you need to have enrolled in a Startup Year course on or before Census Date and meet the following criteria:

  • You are an Australian citizen or an Australian resident with a Permanent Humanitarian visa, a New Zealand Special Category Visa (unless you meet the special eligibility requirements for New Zealand citizens), or a Pacific Engagement visa
  • You meet the Tax File Number (TFN) and Unique Student Identifier (USI) requirements.
  • You are in your final year of an undergraduate degree or are enrolled in a postgraduate degree.
  • You have completed a bachelor degree (or other higher-level qualification) no more than 36 months before commencing the Startup Year course.

Please note that to be eligible to receive STARTUP-HELP assistance, you will also need to undertake the majority of your accelerator program course on an Australian campus.

How to apply for a STARTUP-HELP loan

You can apply for a STARTUP-HELP loan online after you have accepted your offer of a Full-Fee-Paying Place at Swinburne. Once you have accepted your offer, follow these steps to apply:

  • Gather evidence of the eligibility criteria listed above, including your citizenship and relevant enrolment documentation.
  • Using the subject line ‘STARTUP-HELP’, email with all your eligibility evidence and documentation attached.
  • If you are eligible, we will send you an invitation to complete your STARTUP-HELP loan form on the Government eCAF website.
  • Once you have received that form, you must fill it out and submit it on or before Census Date.

Submitting government assistance forms

When we submit your HELP loan data to the government, your TFN is verified against Australian Taxation Office data. Your TFN must be verified before your census date for you to be eligible to receive the loan.

To ensure your TFN can be verified, you must check that your Swinburne personal details are exactly the same as the personal details you supplied the ATO, including all spelling and formatting.

If your details do not match, you won’t be eligible for a HELP loan and you’ll be required to pay your fees upfront.

The personal details that must match are:

  • TFN
  • date of birth
  • given name, other given name(s) and family name
  • permanent address details.

To ensure your records match after completing the HELP loan application, please check your Swinburne personal details and the ATO’s record via their online service. 

To check your Swinburne personal details, follow these steps:

To check your ATO personal details, follow these steps:
  • If you already have a myGov account you can confirm and update your Tax File Number details directly online.
  • If you don’t have a myGov account, you can create one by clicking the ‘Create an account’ button online.
  • Once you are logged into your myGov account go to the Australian Taxation Office and select the My Details tab.
  • If you have difficulties using the ATO’s online services, please contact the ATO enquiries line on 13 28 61.

If your TFN cannot be verified after you submit your HELP loan details to the government, we will alert you via email.

If you need to change, cancel or view the status of your STARTUP-HELP application: 

  1. Log in to My Swinburne then select the My Study tile.  
  2. Select the Government Assistance tab on the left. 

Any previously submitted STARTUP-HELP loan applications will be displayed when you log in, along with the status of your application. 

Assistance and further information

If you need more assistance understanding STARTUP-HELP loans or have a question, we’re here to help.

You can: