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Legislation to simplify and enhance the OS-HELP scheme was passed by the Australian Parliament on 28 June 2013. The changes will come into effect from 1 January 2014. To access the new arrangements, you must be selected for OS-HELP assistance by your higher education provider on or after 1 January 2014.


OS-HELP is a loan available to eligible 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.

OS-HELP debts are accumulated into other higher education debts that a student might have (such as their HECS debt) and repaid in the same way as other HELP debts.


Students will not be eligible to apply for a loan until they have successfully completed the first year of their course and the loan will not cover overseas study undertaken during a final semester of a course. The other main criteria are that a student must:

  • be an Australian citizen or the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa;
  • not have received OS-HELP on more than one other occasion;
  • be a Commonwealth supported student enrolled in an undergraduate course of study at an Australian higher education provider, and;
  • be selected by their Australian higher education provider to receive an OS-HELP loan.

OS-HELP debts are accumulated into other higher education debts that a student might have (such as their HECS debt) and repaid in the same way as other HELP debts. 

Changes to the OS-HELP eligibility requirements from 1 January 2014

From 2014 eligibility for the OS-HELP scheme will be expanded to:

  • allow postgraduate students enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place to access OS-HELP;
  • remove the requirement that students be enrolled with an overseas higher education institution or an overseas campus of a higher education insitution, so that students can receive OS-HELP assistance for study tours and clinical and professional placements undertaken outside of a university setting; and
  • reduce the amount of study that a student must have remaining to complete after their overseas study from 0.5 equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) to 0.125 EFTSL.

Further information regarding the changes to the OS-HELP scheme will soon be made available on the Study Assist website.

Loan amount

The minimum loan is $1000 and the maximum loan $6,051 (2013). In 2014 the maximum will rise to $6,250 for non-Asian destinations.

From 2014 students undertaking overseas study in Asia may also be eligible for:

  • an increased maximum OS-HELP loan amount of $7,500; and
  • a supplementary OS-HELP loan amount of up to $1,000 to assist with the cost of language study undertaken in preparation for overseas study in Asia. (Note: a supplementary loan amount is added to your OS-HELP loan for overseas study, and does not count towards the lifetime maximum of two OS-HELP loans).


OS-HELP loan applications should be submitted by the deadlines outlined below:

  • 31 March - for students going overseas in Semester 2 of the same year (July-December)
  • 31 August - for students going overseas in Semester 1 of the following year (January-June)

Whilst applications may be accepted outside of these deadlines, students are encouraged to complete applications as early as possible as late applications will only be considered if there are loans still available.

Loan application

You need to complete the application form below and lodge it along with the required documentation. You will need to include detailed information about the studies you wish to undertake overseas.

You should consult the OS-HELP guidelines document before submitting the application form.

OS-HELP applicants will be advised the outcome of their application in writing within eight weeks of submitting a completed application. Successful applicants will be required to complete an OS-HELP Debt Confirmation form within two weeks of their offer of OS-HELP assistance.

Payment of the loan

OS-HELP payments will be made by electronic funds transfer, usually within 14 days of receipt of a signed OS-HELP Debt Confirmation form and completed acceptance and request for payment form.

Finding out more about OS-HELP

Further information is available through the Commonwealth OS-HELP website or phone the Student Centre on 1300 361 928 or send an email to