An Overseas Student HELP loan (OS-HELP) is an Australian Government loan scheme. It is funded through the Study Assist program, to assist eligible students, enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place, who wish to undertake an overseas experience as part of their current UWA degree. An overseas experience includes exchange and study abroad programs, professional placements, international internships, UWA units abroad as part of a School-led program and other overseas programs.
More details can be found on the Study Assist website.
How much OS-HELP can you borrow
OS-HELP loan maximums change yearly. In 2023, the maximum you can borrow for a six-month period is:
- $7,348 (if you do not study in Asia); or
- $8,817 if you study in Asia;
- A supplementary $1,172 if you do 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 your program destination. 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 application is dependent on the total OS-HELP funding made available to UWA.
Eligibility for OS-HELP
OS-HELP eligibility requirements are determined under the Higher Education Act (2003). To be eligible to apply for an OS-HELP loan, you must:
- Be an Australian citizen OR a permanent humanitarian visa holder OR an eligible former permanent humanitarian visa holder OR a New Zealand Special Visa (SCV) holder who meets the residency requirements and who will be resident in Australia at the time of applying
- Be enrolled at UWA in a Commonwealth supported place
- Have completed at least 48 course credit points (1 EFTSL of study; one year of full-time study; 8 units) in your current UWA Commonwealth supported degree
- Have at least 6 credit points (0.125 EFTSL; one unit) in your current UWA Commonwealth supported degree left to complete once you have finished your overseas experience
- Be studying full-time overseas and this study will count towards the course requirements of your current UWA Commonwealth supported degree
- Not have received an OS HELP loan on more than one other occasion (you may only receive up to two OS-HELP loans in your lifetime)
- Not have received any other OS-HELP loan for a period that overlaps the six-month period of study
- Have a valid tax file number (TFN)
- Have a Unique Student Identifier (USI)
- Have read the OS-HELP Statement of terms and conditions booklet on the Study Assist website
Eligibility for supplementary Asian language study 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
- Be undertaking Asian language study to prepare you for your overseas study in Asia
- Complete the Asian language study before the commencement of the overseas study
- Not be undertaking the Asian language study as part of your current UWA Commonwealth supported degree
'Asia' includes the following countries:
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), 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.
Studying abroad for two semesters
If you are going overseas for two consecutive semesters, you need to apply for two OS-HELP loans and need to complete two OS-HELP applications. Please note that a second OS-HELP loan can only be paid six months after the first OS-HELP loan payment date.
OS-HELP definitions of full-time study
In general, the following are regarded as full-time study loads for OS-HELP:
- 24 credit points taken over no more than seventeen weeks of overseas study
- 18 credit points taken over no more than thirteen weeks of overseas study
- 12 credit points taken over no more than eight weeks of overseas study
- 6 credit points taken over no more than four weeks of overseas study
View the OS-HELP Statement of terms and conditions for more information.
How to apply
You have to meet all of the above eligibility criteria if you wish to apply for an OS-HELP loan. To apply, please complete and submit the OS-HELP application in Global Studio by providing:
- Program/University acceptance
- Credit approval
- Unique Student Identifier (USI)
Once you submit your application, your eligibility for an OS-HELP loan will be assessed. If eligible, you will be asked to submit an Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF), before any OS-HELP amount can be paid into your bank account.
How to apply if you are studying abroad for two semesters
If you are going overseas for two consecutive semesters and would like to be considered for two OS-HELP loans, you need to apply for two OS-HELP loans and complete two OS-HELP applications as per above. You can submit the application for a second OS-HELP loan before you depart or while you are abroad. Please note that a second OS-HELP loan can only be paid six months after the first OS-HELP loan payment date.
Overseas experiences commencing in Winter
Overseas experiences commencing in Semester 2
Overseas experiences commencing in Summer of the same and following year
Overseas experiences commencing in Semester 1 of the following year
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and will take up to six weeks to be processed. Students will not be assessed any earlier than six months before their expected overseas commencement date. Late applications may be considered if loans are still available and have not been exhausted. Please contact the Global Learning Office for further information.
OS-HELP loans will be paid by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to your nominated bank account, which can take up to six weeks from the date of approval. OS-HELP loans will not be paid more than six months before your overseas experience commences. OS-HELP loans can be approved and paid while you are abroad, but will only be processed if you have at least six weeks remaining in your overseas experience. A second OS-HELP loan can only be paid six months after the first OS-HELP loan payment date.
While we endeavour to approve loans before the anticipated overseas departure, however we cannot guarantee this. Applicants are advised to submit the application well in advanced and are recommended to ensure temporary or alternative financial arrangements are made if the approved loan funding is not paid prior to departure. UWA will not approve OS-HELP loan applications, if you have completed or discontinued your overseas experience.
Disclosure of personal information and false or misleading information
The personal information collected on 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 your OS-HELP application, we may be required to disclose information contained in your application to the Department of Education. We may also be required to disclose your personal information as otherwise authorised or required by law.
An OS-HELP debt will be incurred on all approved loans even if the student does not commence or complete their overseas experience for any reason. An OS-HELP debt cannot be remitted under any circumstances. A student’s OS-HELP debt is incurred as part of their accumulated HELP debt recorded by the Australian Taxation Office. Students repay their accumulated HELP debt through the taxation system once their income is above the minimum threshold for compulsory repayments or by voluntary repayments directly to the ATO.
If an OS-HELP application is declined, students have the right to appeal in writing to the Manager Global Learning Office. The appeal must be submitted in writing and state precisely the grounds on which it is made. It must be lodged with the Manager Global Learning Office, no later than seven working days after receipt of the decision.