What is OS-HELP?
OS-HELP funding is an Australian Government loan scheme, funded through the Study Assist program, to assist eligible students currently enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place who wish to undertake an overseas experience that counts towards their degree.
More details should be sought from the Study Assist website.
How much can you borrow?
The amount you may apply to borrow is indexed annually by the Australian Government on 1 January. In 2023, the maximum amount is:
- $7,348 (if you will not be studying in Asia); or
- $8,817 if you will be studying in Asia; and
- an additional $1,172 if you will be undertaking Asian language study in preparation for study in Asia
As part of your OS-HELP application, you can nominate the amount you wish to borrow, but it cannot exceed the above detailed maximum for their program destination.
Maximums increase each year. You can apply for up to the maximum for the year in which you are applying, NOT the year in which you will travel.
The total amount of OS-HELP assistance approved for each applicant is dependent on the total OS-HELP funding made available to the University. In the event of limited availability of funds, the selection basis for the provision of OS-HELP loans will be based on merit.
OS-HELP eligibility requirements are determined under the Higher Education Support Act (2003). In addition, the University can determine its own internal additional criteria in accordance with the guidelines. To be selected to receive an OS-HELP loan, you need to meet all the eligibility criteria determined by the Australian Government and the University.
The Australian Government's requirements
To be eligible for OS-HELP assistance for overseas study in relation to a six-month period, you must:
- Be an Australian citizen, a permanent humanitarian visa holder, or a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder who meets the long-term residency requirements,
- Be enrolled as a Commonwealth supported student at ANU and have completed at least 48 units towards the Commonwealth supported degree before receiving the loan,
- Have at least 6 units remaining on your ANU degree upon returning from overseas experience,
- Be studying full-time overseas and have the overseas study count towards the current Australian course requirements,
- Have not received more than one previous OS-HELP loan at any institution,
- Not have received an OS-HELP loan for the same six-month period,
- Be able to provide an Australian Tax File Number (TFN) or a Certificate of Application for a TFN,
- Be selected by ANU to receive an OS-HELP loan.
To be eligible for a supplementary Asian language study loan, you must:
- Be selected for OS-HELP assistance for overseas study in Asia for the same six-month period,
- Have applied to and be selected to receive a supplementary amount for Asian language study,
- Be undertaking Asian language study to you prepare for your overseas study in Asia,
- Complete the Asian language study before the commencement of the overseas study,
- Not be undertaking Asian language study as part of a course leading to a higher education award for which you are in a Commonwealth supported place or receiving FEE-HELP.
The University's requirements
You must submit your complete applications as detailed in the 'How to apply' section below by the deadlines.
You must apply:
- No earlier than four months before the overseas program commences; and
No later than:
- Four weeks after the program commencement for Exchange or Year in Asia.
- Four weeks prior to the commencement date of the overseas program for short programs, clinical placements, internships, and other international opportunities.
The entire process can take up to six weeks, so please ensure you apply before you travel, as the loan must be approved and paid before your return to Australia.
How to apply
All students wishing to receive an OS-HELP loan need to apply through the Global Programs System. Students will need to provide the following documentation:
For exchange and Year in Asia:
- Documentary evidence of acceptance or enrolment by the overseas institution with which you will be undertaking your study
- Documentary evidence of acceptance or enrolment in an Asian language course, if you are applying for a supplementary Asian language study
For other international opportunities
- Documentary evidence or confirmation from the overseas institution of your acceptance or enrolment into the overseas study (if your overseas trip is part of your ANU course, you must enrol in the course via ISIS before the loan is paid).
- Documentary evidence of acceptance or enrolment in an Asian language course, if you are applying for a supplementary Asian language study loan.
If you are applying for two OS-HELP loans to cover two consecutive six month periods of overseas study, you must complete two separate sets of applications prior to each relevant six month study period. Your second application will only be considered once you have provided us with an academic transcript from the overseas institution (or equivalent) and a letter confirming that you will be undertaking a further semester of study.
Notification of Outcomes
After an application is approved, a confirmation email will be sent to the student with instructions regarding how to complete the electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF). Once the student has completed their eCAF and the loan has been approved, a formal letter of offer will be sent to the student's ANU email address, following which funds will be transferred directly into the student's nominated bank account. Please ensure your bank account details are up to date in ISIS.
Provision of false or misleading information by students
The personal information collected in your OS-HELP application is collected for the purpose of determining your eligibility for an OS-HELP loan. If you provide false or misleading information in the applications, the University may be required to disclose information contained in the OS-HELP application to the department. The University may also be required to disclose your personal information as otherwise authorised or required by law.
How can you repay the loan?
The amount you borrow will be added to their existing HELP debt. Once the loan has been approved and paid, it cannot be cancelled and will be added to your HELP debt even if you do not complete your studies or cannot undertake or complete the approved overseas study. You can repay your accumulated debt through the Australian taxation system once your income is above the minimum repayment threshold for compulsory repayment.
If an OS-HELP application is declined, students have the right to appeal in writing. The appeal must state precisely the grounds on which it is made and be sent to the contact details on this page no later than seven working days after receipt of the decision. If you are not satisfied with decisions that ANU has made with respect to their OS-HELP application, you can lodge a formal complaint as described within the Student Complaint Resolution policy.