The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. TheĀ information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

6.9 SSL repayment arrangements

Repayment arrangements - overview

SSLs are Government-provided loans to qualifying students that are required to be paid back over time. They are also income contingent loans, meaning that repayment of the loan will be dependent on the person's income.

The loans are repayable under the same arrangements as HELP debts. Students are required to begin repaying their loan once their earnings are above the repayment threshold and after their HELP debt has been fully repaid. For details of the threshold, go to Study and training loan repayment thresholds and rates on the ATO website.

The loans are repaid through the tax system and compulsory repayments are made through income tax assessments. The student's employer and the ATO will calculate the amount of compulsory repayments. People are also able to make voluntary repayments to the ATO. Students are required to provide their TFN when applying for the loan to facilitate in the repayment of the loan.

SSL debts are incurred by the student on the later of:

  • the day on which they received the loan, or
  • the day after the person's enrolment test date for the qualification period.

A person's enrolment test day is the EARLIEST of the following days:

  • the last day of the approved scholarship course (if the course ends during that qualification period)
  • the last day of the relevant qualification period, or
  • the 35th day of the period starting on either
    • the first day of the approved scholarship course (if the person's qualification time was before the first day of the relevant approved scholarship course), or
    • the day on which the person qualified for the loan.

While SSL debts are interest free, they are subject to indexation. Indexation occurs when a studentā€™s debt is adjusted to reflect the changes in the cost of living, meaning that the amount a student repays in total will be more than the original amount of the loan. This should be considered in the long term before applying, as having a debt may affect access to bank and home loans.


If you are dissatisfied with the repayment arrangements for your SSL, you may wish to call freecall 1800 132 468. This number will put you in contact with a Services Australia officer, who will assist you with your concerns.

Act reference: SSAct Chapter 2AA Student start-up loans

Policy reference: SS Guide Student start-up loan (SSL) - description, 3.8.19 SSL - qualification & payability, Student start-up loan (SSL) overpayments

Last reviewed: