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How can I apply for OS-HELP?

OS-HELP provides financial assistance to eligible students studying in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) to undertake a portion of their studies overseas. These loans help students with a range of expenses, such as air fares, accommodation and other travel expenses.


To be eligible to apply for an OS-HELP loan, you must:

  • be an Australian citizen, permanent humanitarian visa holder or a New Zealand Special Category visa holder who meets the government eligibility criteria
  • be enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP)
  • be undertaking full-time study overseas, according to the OS-HELP definition of full-time, that will count towards the requirements of your course
  • have already completed at least 100 credit points of study as a Commonwealth supported student in Australia, that counts towards the requirements of your course
  • on return from overseas, have at least 12.5 credit points of study remaining to complete in the course for which you will be receiving credit for your overseas study
  • have not received more than one other OS-HELP loan (you may only receive up to two OS-HELP loans in your lifetime)
  • have not received any other OS-HELP loans for a period that overlaps the six-month period of study
  • have not completed your overseas study before applying for the OS-HELP loan.

You are not eligible to apply for an OS-HELP loan if you are a graduate research student enrolled under the Research Training Program (RTP).

If you are enrolled in a bachelor degree and a concurrent diploma, only the bachelor degree may be considered for the purposes of assessing eligibility for OS-HELP.

How to apply

If you meet all of the above eligibility criteria and wish to apply for an OS-HELP loan, please complete and submit the OS-HELP application form. Applications can only be assessed up to six months before the overseas start date.

Semester and year long programs
If you are studying overseas on a semester or year-long program, you must attach your Acceptance letter issued by The University of Melbourne when you submit your OS-HELP loan application. You should receive this letter under step 7. ‘Accepted Host Institution: You have received an official acceptance notification from the host institution and a University of Melbourne acceptance letter has been issued to you.'

Short-term programs
If you are studying overseas on a short-term program, you must attach your Acceptance letter issued by The University of Melbourne when you submit your OS-HELP loan application. You should receive this letter after you complete step 5. Get accepted by your host.

UMOS or internships
If you are applying to study overseas for a University of Melbourne Overseas Subject (UMOS) or internship, you must be enrolled in the subject on your study plan for which the overseas study will count for credit.

Asian language study
If you are applying for the additional Asian language amount, you must attach a confirmation of your current enrolment in this Asian language study at a higher education provider.

You will not be eligible to apply for the Asian language amount if you have already completed the Asian language study.

You will not be eligible to apply for the Asian language amount if the Asian language study will count towards your course. 

Complete applications will be assessed within five working days.

OS-HELP definitions of full-time study whilst overseas

For Fee-paying programs, University of Melbourne Overseas Subjects (UMOS), Short-term programs or Internships, a full-time load is calculated by a formula that takes into account both the credit points and the length of time of the overseas study. Travel dates to and from the study program are not included in the calculation.

In general, the following are regarded as full-time study loads for OS-HELP:

  • 37.5 credit points taken over no more than 12 weeks of overseas study.
  • 25 credit points taken over no more than 8 weeks of overseas study.
  • 12.5 credit points taken over no more than 4 weeks of overseas study.
  • 6.25 credit points taken over no more than 2 weeks of overseas study.

Selecting students for OS-HELP

The total funds available by Department of Education for OS-HELP loans are limited each year, so loans may not be available to all students who apply.

If there are insufficient funds for all eligible applicants, the University of Melbourne will select the students to receive loans by applying one or more of the following criteria:

  • Preference may be given to students who are participating in a University of Melbourne Exchange program.
  • Loans may be awarded to students with the highest Weighted Average Marks (WAM).
  • Loans may be declined to students who are receiving scholarships, grants or other forms of financial assistance towards their overseas study.
  • Preference may be granted to students who have not previously received OS-HELP.
  • Preference may be given to students who have previously applied and been assessed as eligible, but could not be granted OS-HELP because insufficient funds were available.

Loan conditions

If you want to change your loan amount after you have submitted an application, you must submit a new application.

You may be permitted to increase or reduce loan amounts, provided your request is received before you have submitted your OS-HELP debt confirmation form.

You cannot request to change your loan amount once your OS-HELP debt confirmation form has been submitted.

If you are undertaking a second discrete six-month period of study that is a continuation of the first, you may apply for a second loan. However, the decision to grant the second loan will be made no more than six weeks before the commencement date of the second six-month period of study.

The second six-month period of study commencement date must be at least six months after the first six-month period of study commencement date.

OS-HELP application outcomes

All applicants will be notified of the result of their application by University email.

OS-HELP payments to students

If you are selected to receive OS-HELP assistance you will be instructed to complete OS-HELP debt confirmation form. 

You will be required to provide the following information in the OS-HELP debt confirmation form:

                     (a)  the amount of OS-HELP assistance you will receive;

                     (b)  the commencement date for the period of six months in relation to which your are entitled to receive OS‑HELP assistance;

                     (c)  your tax file number 

You must ensure that you do not specify a commencement date that is before the date on which you begin your overseas study.

OS-HELP loans will be paid by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to your nominated bank account once we receive your OS-HELP debt confirmation. Please allow up to 10 working days for your payment to be received.

The loan can only be repaid after this point via the HELP loan repayment procedures managed by the Australian Taxation Office. Following payment of the loan, you will receive a Commonwealth Assistance Notice confirming the amount of your debt.

The University of Melbourne may withdraw the offer of OS-HELP before the loan has been paid into a student's bank account if:

  • the student's circumstances change and no longer meet the OS-HELP eligibility criteria
  • the student has provided false or misleading information in their application for OS-HELP
  • the student will not be undertaking the overseas study.