OS-HELP loans and Study Overseas
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HELP loans are not available for an Australian student who is enrolled at an overseas institution completing a qualification that will be awarded by the overseas institution.
If you are enrolled in a course of study with an approved Australian higher education provider (provider) and you wish to undertake part of your study overseas, you may be eligible to access a HELP loan for the portion of your overseas exchange. HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP loans are only available in this capacity if the overseas portion of your study is covered by a formal exchange agreement between the Australian provider and the overseas provider. OS-HELP loans are available to Commonwealth supported students who want to undertake study overseas, whether this study is covered by a formal exchange agreement or not. You should contact the student administration area of your provider for more information.
For information on options available to Australians studying overseas, please visit the Study Overseas Portal (opens in a new window).Return to top
What is an OS-HELP loan?
OS-HELP is a loan available to eligible undergraduate students enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place who want to undertake some of their study overseas. OS-HELP can be used for a range of expenses such as airfares, accommodation, and other travel or study expenses. Students may receive one loan per six-month study period and can access a total of two OS-HELP loans over their lifetime.Return to top
Am I eligible for OS-HELP?
You are eligible for OS-HELP if you meet ALL of the below criteria:
- you are an Australian citizen or permanent humanitarian visa holder;
- you have not received an OS-HELP loan on more than one other occasion;
- you are enrolled in an undergraduate course with an Australian provider as a Commonwealth supported student and have completed one equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) - which is usually one year of full-time study;
- you are enrolled full-time with an overseas higher education institution* or an overseas campus of an Australian higher education provider (note: you must be outside Australia while undertaking this study. The overseas study cannot be completed by distance or online);
- your overseas study counts towards the course requirements for the Australian undergraduate course of study in which you are enrolled;
- you will have at least 0.5 EFTSL of your course of study left to complete once you have finished your overseas study (usually one semester full-time); and
- you meet the tax file number (TFN) requirements:
- you must give your provider your valid TFN; OR
- if you don’t have a TFN you can give your provider a Certificate of application for a TFN. This certificate is available from the Australian Taxation Office (opens in a new window) after you have applied for a TFN.
*If a student is undertaking work experience or a training placement at a hospital, then the hospital must be recognised as an educational provider for a student to access an OS-HELP loan.Return to top
How do I apply for OS-HELP?
You must apply to your higher education provider for an OS-HELP loan. As each provider runs its own application and selection process, you should contact your provider for information about how to obtain an OS-HELP loan.
To receive an OS-HELP loan, you will need a tax file number and an OS-HELP debt confirmation form. As TFNs are usually provided within 28 days of application, it is essential that you apply to ensure you have your TFN by the date required. If you do not have a TFN by the date required, you will need to arrange a Certificate of application for a TFN with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Contact the ATO on 13 28 61 for TFN information.
You will need to complete the form (only available from your provider), sign it, and submit it directly to your provider. Make sure you include your TFN (or a Certificate of application for a TFN), otherwise your form will not be valid.Return to top
How much can I borrow?
For 2012, the maximum you can borrow is $5,824 for a six-month study period.
For 2013, the maximum you can borrow is $6,051 for a six-month study period.
The amount you can borrow using an OS-HELP loan is determined by your provider in accordance with their OS-HELP policy, the OS-HELP Guidelines and the Higher Education Support Act 2003.Return to top
How do I repay my OS-HELP loan?
See Loan repayment for information on making repayments.Return to top