HELP for Rural Doctors and Nurse Practitioners

This initiative reduces outstanding Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debt for eligible doctors and nurse practitioners who live and work in rural, remote or very remote areas of Australia.

About the initiative

The HELP for Rural Doctors and Nurse Practitioners initiative gives eligible doctors and nurses the opportunity to reduce their outstanding HELP debt if they meet:

For this initiative, areas classified as Modified Monash Model 3 to 7 count as rural, remote or very remote.

Eligibility starts from 1 January 2022. If you are eligible for this initiative:

  • your outstanding HELP debt will be updated each year through the taxation system
  • an indexation waiver will apply to your outstanding HELP debt for the period you live and complete eligible work in an MM 3 to 7 area.

Amendments to the Higher Education Support Act 2003

In February 2022, the former government introduced a bill to amend the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to establish the Higher Education Loan Program. The bill did not pass prior to the Australian Parliament being dissolved in anticipation of the 2022 federal election.

On 10 November 2022, the Australian Government introduced the Higher Education Support Amendment (2022 Measures No.1) Bill 2022 into the Australian Parliament. It passed both houses on 9 February 2023 and subsequently received the Royal Assent on 20 February 2023.

The Department of Education finalised the ‘HELP Debtor (Health Practitioner) Guidelines’ on 21 August 2023. View the guidelines.

The guidelines outline the:

  • detailed eligibility requirements;
  • arrangements for the administration of the program;
  • obligations for participants to access the benefits of the program.

The Department of Education is currently working to establish the arrangements to support prospective participants to submit an application and these will be advised as soon as possible.

We will continue to provide advice and appropriate support during development and implementation of the program.


The initiative aims to increase the number of doctors and nurse practitioners living and working in rural Australia.

Eligibility criteria

See our fact sheet for details of the specific eligibility criteria that apply for doctors and nurse practitioners.


To have your outstanding HELP debt eliminated, you must live and complete eligible work in a rural, remote or very remote location for the required amount of time.

The required amount of time varies depending on how remote the location is and how many years your degree took.

See our fact sheet for details on how long you would need to work to qualify for partial or full elimination of outstanding HELP debt.

How to Apply

The Department of Education has commenced accepting and processing applications. If you require an application form they are now available on the Department of Education’s website here: Reduction of Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) debts for health practitioners in rural, remote and very remote areas - Department of Education, Australian Government

The Department of Education are assessing all applications and will notify you by writing on the outcome of your application.

Learn more

See our fact sheet for details of eligibility requirements, obligations, answers to frequently asked questions, and case studies.

Read the fact sheet

Health Workforce Locator

Use the Health Workforce Locator to find the Modified Monash Model classification for any location in Australia.

Check your location

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