OS-HELP is a Commonwealth Government loan program. It provides financial assistance to eligible Commonwealth Supported Place students, to undertake some of their study overseas. These loans will help students with a range of expenses, such as airfares, accommodation and other travel or study expenses.
The funds for OS-HELP loans are provided by the Department of Education but are administered by Monash Abroad.
The amount you borrow will be added to your accumulated HELP debt and will be repayable under the same conditions as your HELP debt.
What's the loan eligibility criteria?
Please read and make sure you are meeting ALL of the below eligibility criteria at the time of your loan application assessment (which generally happens about four-six weeks before your overseas program commencement date).
If you do not meet any of the below requirements at the time of your application assessment, your OS-HELP loan application can not be approved.
To be eligible for an OS-HELP loan you must:
- be an Australian citizen or hold an Australian permanent humanitarian visa.
Effective January 2016, New Zealand citizens who are Special Category Visa (SCV) holders and meet the requisite criteria, can also apply for an OS-HELP loan. Refer to FAQ 3390 for details.
- be enrolled in an undergraduate or postgraduate course of study at Monash as a Commonwealth supported (CSP) student
(Diploma courses are not considered as eligible course of study for OS-HELP loan eligibility)
- be undertaking full-time study overseas according to the OS-HELP definition of full-time, which is different from the Monash definition*
- have your overseas study count towards the course requirements of the Monash course you are enrolled in
- have already completed at least 1.0 EFTSL (48 credit points) of the Monash course, for which you will be receiving credit for your overseas study
- on return from overseas, you must have at least 0.125 EFTSL (6 Monash credit points) to complete for the Monash course, for which you will be receiving credit for your overseas study
- have been selected by Monash to receive an OS-HELP loan for a six-month period
- have not received more than one other OS-HELP loan including from another higher education provider
- have not received any other OS-HELP loan for a period that overlaps or coincides with the six-month period
- have not completed your overseas study before applying for the OS-HELP loan.
*Full-time study for short-term international study programs
Prato programs, credit based overseas study tours, field trips, international internships and placements are generally classified as short-term international study programs.
For short-term international study programs, (other than semester length exchange, intercampus exchange and study abroad programs) a full-time load is calculated by a formula, as advised by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. This formula takes account of both - the credit points you will be attaining and the length of time of your 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 purposes:
- 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
For semester length exchange, study abroad or intercampus exchange programs, your study period is considered full-time provided you receive 18-24 Monash credit points towards the Monash course for which you will receive credit for your overseas study.
How to apply for an OS-HELP loan?
Semester/year-long exchange, study abroad or intercampus exchange - If you are participating in a semester exchange, study abroad or intercampus exchange program, please submit your OS-HELP loan application form (pdf, 55 Kb) with your Monash Abroad application. Your OS-HELP application will be assessed by Monash Abroad as per the process below. The normal timeline of loan application assessments is about four-six weeks before your overseas program commencement date.* Make sure you are aware of all application deadlines for exchange and intercampus exchange.
Prato programs - If you are participating in a short or semester length Prato program, please attach the OS-HELP loan application form (pdf, 55 Kb) form to the Monash Abroad international study program registration form (usually a paper form or online google form – you will be instructed by your faculty which form to use). Your OS-HELP application will be assessed by Monash Abroad as per the process below. The normal timeline of loan application assessments is about four-six weeks before your overseas program commencement date.*
Short term overseas programs (e.g., faculty study tours/fieldtrips, placements/internships, summer/winter schools) - If you are participating in a short term international study program, please attach the OS-HELP loan application form (pdf, 55 Kb) form to the Monash Abroad international study program registration form (usually a paper form or online google form – you will be instructed by your faculty which form to use). Your OS-HELP application will be assessed by Monash Abroad as per the process below. The normal timeline of loan application assessments is about four-six weeks before your overseas program commencement date.*
For the above experiences, your OS-HELP loan application form can be submitted subsequent to applying/registering through Monash Abroad, but not in retrospect.
What's the loan assessment process?
Loan application will only be assessed after -
- the receipt of your complete overseas program application (In case of short-term international study programs, completed ISP applications are submitted to Monash Abroad by the relevant faculty),
- the acceptance of your overseas program by the Monash Abroad coordinator and
- the confirmation of your overseas enrolment in WES.
In case of semester length overseas exchange, intercampus exchange and study abroad programs, acceptance of the host university is also required before your loan application assessment.
The normal timeline of loan application assessments is about four-six weeks before your overseas program commencement date.
*During peak times (May-July & Nov-Jan) due to a large volume of loan applications; there can be delays in the processing of loan application assessments, but our office endeavours to process your loan assessment before the commencement of your overseas study program.
What is the basis of selection?
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, Monash Abroad 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 the Monash Abroad exchange or Intercampus exchange programs;
- students may be awarded loans of less than the amounts they applied for;
- 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 an OS-HELP loan;
- preference may be given to students who have previously applied and been assessed as eligible, but could not be granted loans because insufficient funds were available; and
- students who are encumbered will not be considered.
In any year when there are insufficient funds for all eligible applicants, all students who apply will be advised of the selection criteria.
Are there any conditions attached?
- If you want to change your applied loan amount after you have submitted an application, you must write to Monash Abroad.
- You will be permitted to reduce your loan amount provided your request is received before you have submitted your OS-HELP Debt Confirmation form.
- Requests to increase loan amounts will only be granted if Monash Abroad assesses that sufficient funds are available for all eligible students who apply in that calendar year.
- If you want to apply for an increase in the loan amount, you will be advised whether your request has been granted as soon as practicable, but it may not be possible to assess the availability of funds immediately.
- You cannot request a change in your loan amount once your Debt Confirmation form has been received by the Monash Abroad office.
- The OS-HELP loan can not be paid after your overseas program completion date.
- Your OS-HELP loan application may be rejected if it is submitted too close to the end of your overseas program.
- The granting of OS-HELP loans will not affect your eligibility for Monash Abroad travel scholarships.
- You may receive OS-HELP loans from both Monash and another Australian institution, but may only receive one loan in respect to any six month period of study and may not receive more than two loans during your lifetime.
- Whatever the actual period of full-time overseas study, only one loan may be granted for any six-month period of study. If you study overseas for two discrete periods, you may apply for a second loan. However, the decision whether to grant the second loan will be made no more than six weeks before the commencement of your second period of study. The decision on the second application will be made according to the eligibility criteria and selection principles applying at that time, which may be different from those which applied when your first loan was granted.
The second loan can only be paid six months after your first loan commencement date.
The full terms and conditions of OS-HELP loans are set out in the OS-HELP Statement of Terms and Conditions published by the Department of Education.
How can I accept my loan offer?
All applicants will be notified of the result of their application by Monash Abroad, through their Monash student email addresses.
If your application is successful, this electronic letter of offer will advise you of your approved loan amount.
If your application is not successful, you will be advised of the reason for the non approval of your loan.
If you have been approved for the loan, you will be asked to come to Monash Abroad office with your Tax File Number information, to
- complete the hard copy of an OS-HELP Debt Confirmation form (available at Monash Abroad office), which must be signed and returned to Monash Abroad as per the date specified on your loan offer email &
- receive an OS-HELP Statement of Terms and Conditions booklet.
Loan offers will lapse if the Debt Confirmation form is not received by the date specified on your offer letter.
The Debt Confirmation form has a carbon copy, both the institution copy and student copy of the form have to be submitted and only the original hardcopy of the Debt Confirmation form has to be signed.
The debt confirmation form cannot be sent or received electronically or by fax, therefore, it must be completed before your departure from Australia.
What if I am overseas and can not sign the debt confirmation form in time?
If you are considering an early overseas departure, please organise a power of attorney to sign the debt confirmation form on your behalf. This person can either be a family member or a trusted friend of yours.
A Power of Attorney can sign the Debt Confirmation Form on your behalf, but an original or certified copy of the General Non-Enduring Power of Attorney form and a copy of your attorney's driver license (for signature verification) is required to be submitted with the completed Debt Confirmation form.
The Power of Attorney person is required to be aware of your Monash student ID, course details (course, campus location) and Tax File Number information to complete the debt confirmation form on your behalf.
When will I receive the loan payment?
After receiving your completed debt confirmation form, your approved OS-HELP loan will be paid as a single electronic deposit into your nominated bank account normally about two-four weeks prior to the commencement date of your overseas program.
Please note even if you are departing for overseas early, the loan payment will still be timed as per your overseas program commencement date; not as per your overseas departure date.
A legally binding debt to the Commonwealth will be incurred at the time the loan is paid into your bank account, even if you do not proceed with the course of overseas study.
Monash Abroad may withdraw a loan offer before the loan has been paid into your bank account if:
- your circumstances change in a way that means you no longer meet the OS-HELP eligibility criteria;
- you have provided false or misleading information; and/or
- you will not, for any reason, be undertaking the overseas study.
How will the loan be repaid?
Your OS-HELP debt is included in your accumulated HELP debt. You will repay your accumulated HELP debt through the taxation system, once your income is above the minimum threshold for compulsory repayments.
The loan cannot be repaid after it has been paid into your bank account, except via the HELP repayment procedures set out by the Australian Taxation Office. Following payment of the loan, you will receive a Commonwealth Assistance Notice confirming the amount of your debt.