OS-HELP

What is an OS-HELP loan?

OS-HELP (opens in a new window) is an Australian Government loan used to help students undertake part of their course of 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 up to a total of two OS-HELP loans.

OS-HELP loan amounts

You may borrow the amounts below to be added to your existing HECS-HELP debt. The debt has the same repayment conditions as HECS-HELP and are indexed accordingly.

  • OS-HELP Asia destinations – loans of either $4,000 or $8,149 available
  • OS-HELP Non-Asian destinations – loans of either $4,000 or $6,791 available
  • Supplementary OS-HELP Asian languages study (not for credit) – additional $1,085 if you undertake relevant and endorsed Asian language study in preparation for your study in Asia. This may be taken in your host country or in Australia before you leave. You cannot apply for this loan in isolation of a main OS-HELP loan for study in Asia
  • Maximum amounts are indexed every year under the Higher Education Grants Index

Am I eligible?

OS-HELP is available to eligible undergraduate or postgraduate 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.

You are eligible for OS-HELP if you meet all of the below criteria:

  • you are an Australian citizen or permanent humanitarian visa holder or a New Zealand Special Category Visa (NZ SCV) holder who has met the long-term residency requirements.
  • you have not received an OS-HELP loan on more than one other occasion
  • you are enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate course with an Australian provider as a Commonwealth supported student and have succesfully completed one year of full-time study (1 EFTSL) in the degree course you will study overseas. This is equivalent to 80 credit points at Western Sydney University. Students enrolled in a full-fee place are not eligible
  • your overseas study i.e. session or year-long exchange, clinical placement, internship, study tour will count towards your Western Sydney University course requirements in which you are enrolled (see definitions of exchange and non-exchange students for more information)
  • you will have at least 0.125 EFTSL of your course of study left to complete once you have finished your overseas study (equivalent to 10 Western Sydney University credit points)
  • you meet the tax file number (TFN) requirements
  • you have not completed your overseas study before applying for this loan
  • 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 you are undertaking work experience or a training placement at a hospital abroad the hospital must be recognised as an educational provider for a student to access an OS-HELP loan

Students will be ranked on the basis of academic merit. For more information see the Australian Government's OS-HELP Loan Terms and Conditions (opens in a new window).

Can I receive a scholarship and an OS-HELP payment?

Yes. The Australian Government does not place any restrictions on students receiving any type of Scholarship and an OS-HELP loan. Types of scholarships may include Australian Government scholarships, Western Sydney University Scholarships or external scholarships.

Applications

OS-HELP Application Kit

The OS-HELP Application Kit comprises:

  1. OS-HELP Loan Application form (PDF, 172.06 KB) (opens in a new window)
  2. OS-HELP Debt Confirmation form (hard-copy available from Student Central on your campus)
  3. OS-HELP Statement of Terms & Conditions (opens in a new window)

How do I apply?

Submit a completed OS-HELP Loan Application [PDF, 136.78 KB] (opens in a new window) (including an OS-HELP Debt Confirmation Form) to Student Central.

You must complete all applications yourself. A proxy cannot complete the forms on your behalf as original signatures are required for each part of the application. Please note an incomplete application cannot be accepted by Student Central for processing. No incomplete applications will be considered.

Application deadline

Applications must be lodged directly with Student Central. The University requires 25 working days to process your OS-HELP loan.

The an OS-HELP loan application can be received is no earlier than six months before to the official start date of the overseas study program.  The latest an OS-HELP application loan can be received is six weeks prior to the official end date of the overseas study program. Note that applications submitted after the completion of an overseas program will not be approved.

Loan fee

There is no loan fee on any OS-HELP loans with a debt incurred date on or after 1 January 2010.

Selection and payment process

Eligible students

Applicants will be assessed against the eligibility criteria and may be required to substantiate claims before payments are made. Loans will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Students cannot be selected for OS-HELP more than six months before the commencement of overseas study.

Students who meet the eligibility requirements will be deposited the relevant OS-HELP loan by electronic funds transfer (EFT) into your nominated bank account and will take 25 working days to process from the time of application.  At the time of payment a remittance advice will be sent directly to their Western Sydney University student e-mail address by Westerns Sydney University bank provider, the Commonwealth Bank. Students are requested to also check their CAN to ensure that the payment has been processed. The debt is incurred on the day that you receive the payment of loan into your nominated bank account and is subject to the same conditions as HECS-HELP.

Ineligible students

Students who submit an OS-HELP loan application but do not meet the eligibility requirements will be notified in writing by the Student Fees team directly to their student email account within 25 working days of their application being received.

What is the follow-up process for students who have waited more than 25 working days for the payment of their OS-HELP loan? If a student has waited more than 25 days for the payment of their OS-HELP loan please send an email to finance@westernsydney.edu.au to follow up your OS-HELP payment. It may be the case that you submitted incorrect bank details as part of your application.

When do I repay my loan?

The loan amount will be added onto your accumulated HELP debt. You can make voluntary repayments of your HELP loan at any time to the Australian Taxation Office, otherwise repayments will automatically be deducted once you begin earning an income above the compulsory repayment threshold.

Students are determined to have incurred an OS-HELP debt on the day that the University deposits money into the nominated bank account.

Withdrawing your application

Before payment - you may withdraw your application anytime for any reason. Your application may also be withdrawn if it is determined that you have provided false or misleading information.

After payment - the debt is incurred even if your circumstances change so that you are no longer eligible or able to study overseas. You can repay the debt through the Australian Tax Office.
If it is discovered or there is reason to believe that you provided false or misleading information in your application and you have already incurred an OS-HELP debt, the University must notify the Australian Government immediately of the suspected offence.

Second Loan applications and payments

Students studying overseas for two six month periods (that is, two semesters) may apply for a second loan. Students can do this at the time they apply for the first loan, or in a later round. This second loan can only be paid, however, when it is confirmed in the six weeks prior to the beginning of the second semester that they are eligible to continue the approved overseas program and if still eligible, by OS-HELP guidelines, to receive a second OS-HELP loan.  A second OS-HELP loan cannot be paid earlier than six months prior to the first payment date.

Students may apply for a second loan of any offered amount up to the current maximum indexed loan amount provided they meet the eligibility requirements.

Appealing loan decisions

If a student is unsatisfied with decisions that the University has made regarding an OS-HELP application they have the right to appeal their decision in writing to Fees and Student Finance at enrolments@westernsydney.edu.au. If the student is unsatisfied with the advice received following the above process, they are able to submit a formal complaint via the Western Sydney University Complaint Handling and Resolution Policy.

Definitions

Asian destination list

You will be considered to be undertaking overseas study in Asia if you are undertaking study in at least one of the following countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Timor-Leste, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Non-Asian destination list

All countries around the world outside of the Asian countries listed above.  Please note students are not allowed to travel to areas assessed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (opens in a new window) as an area to which Australians are advised not to travel (Level 4 - Do not travel).

Exchange student

A student who has been nominated to study at an official exchange partner university administered by Western Sydney University International Go Global and Study Abroad office for either a session, year or short-term winter or summer exchange placement. An exchange student will have received an official nomination letter to take part in an approved exchange program at an approved overseas institution.

Non-exchange student

A student who has been approved by their School to take short-term or session/year long study, study tour, fieldwork or a professional placement (internship, clinical elective, etc) overseas which will be count towards a course requirement for their Western Sydney University degree. A non-exchange student must have the overseas program endorsed as counting towards course requirements by their Western Sydney University Academic Course Advisor.

Course requirements

The type of overseas study for which you may be able to receive OS-HELP assistance could include session or year-long exchanges, study tours, fieldwork, or a professional placement (internship, clinical elective etc) overseas that count towards your course requirements at Western Sydney University. Please check with your Western Sydney University School whether your overseas experience counts towards course requirements.

Links and further information

Contact us

OS-HELP applications and processing:
E: studentcentral@westernsydney.edu.au

Further advice about studying abroad:
E: goglobal@westernsydney.edu.au