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HELP debt (a.k.a Higher Education Loan Programme debt, HECS debt)

What should be entered as a HELP debt

  • A HELP debt (Higher Education Loan Programme debt, also known as a HECS debt) is a loan provided by the Australian Government to assist eligible students with their tuition fees at university and other higher education providers. Once your taxable income is over a certain threshold, you have to make compulsory repayments through your tax return (or PAYG), and you can also make additional voluntary repayments.

  • (error) Do not enter as a HELP debt:

    • HELP debts that belong to dependants - If an individual plans to pay a HELP debt on behalf of someone else, then it is best to enter it as an Expense. In Pathfinder, HELP debts can only be owned by people who have been entered as Individuals (not Dependants), and the compulsory repayments will be deducted from the individual's income. 

How to add a HELP debt

  • To add an existing HELP debt for an individual, go to the Current situation > Assets & Loans step (on the top menu) and click the Add Loans button (on the left menu) > HELP debt.

  • If the individual is continuing to study, you can add future tuition fees at the Cash flows & Goals step (top menu). Then, go to the Review Assets & Loans sub-step, find the HELP debt and fill in the Future HELP fees field. Make sure that you enter the HELP fees for the correct years. By default, they will occur for every year, so you will need to make sure the expense stops (for more information, see How to stop a value in the series builder).

  • If an individual does not have a HELP debt, but plans to incur one in the future (as a result of future study), go to the Cash flows & Goals step (top menu), then the Review Assets & Loans sub-step and then click the Add new Assets & Loans button at the end of the page and choose Future HELP debt fees. Make sure that you enter the HELP fees for the correct years. By default, they will occur for every year, so you will need to make sure the expense stops, see How to stop a value in the series builder

Modelling options for HELP debts

Entering the HELP debt incurred year by year

For new HELP debts, you should only enter amounts in the years the the individual incurs the debt (e.g. if it is a 3 year degree with a debt of $10,000 a year, you should put $10,000 for 3 years). For more information see How to stop a value in the series builder.

Making compulsory HELP debt repayments

Compulsory HELP debt repayments will be automatically calculated based on the individual's taxable income in Pathfinder (e.g. salary, business income, investment income).

Making voluntary HELP debt repayments 

On the Cash flows & Goals > Review Assets & Loans step, there are options for controlling whether or not you make voluntary HELP debt repayments.

Additional modelling options

Results for HELP debts

See HELP Debt results.

Related Items

Strategy Development Service (SDS) and Background adjustment options

If the case includes complex analysis that you are not able to do in Pathfinder yourself, Optimo Support may be able to do some background adjustments to help you get the results you need. Depending on the complexity, this may be included as part of the standard support or additional charges may apply. For more details, please see Modelling outside the scope of Pathfinders' standard modelling.

Some examples of things that are outside the scope of Pathfinder's modelling and how Optimo support can help, are listed below:



Information required by Optimo Support

Examples where additional charges may apply

Assuming a different indexation rate from the Optimo default

The indexation rate for HELP Debts is part of Pathfinder’s technical database, so cannot be adjusted by users.

The indexation rate you would like to use.

This would be assessed case by case.

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