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?
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
- 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.
A student is required to be meeting all the above eligibility criteria, at the time of the loan application assessment.
For 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 that takes account of 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 purposes:
- 24 credit points taken over no more than seventeen weeks of overseas study
- 18 credit points taken over no more than thirteeen 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
How to apply for an OS-HELP loan?
If you are interested in applying for the OS-HELP loan you will apply through the Monash Abroad office. It is best to submit your OS-HELP loan application form (pdf, 55 Kb) with your Monash Abroad application.
Please note for all short-term international study programs, the OS-HELP application should be attached with the Monash Abroad application form and should not be submitted earlier.
The application can be submitted at a later time, but not in retrospect.
Be sure to be aware of all application deadlines for exchange and intercampus exchange.
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 the overseas program by the Monash Abroad coordinator and
the confirmation of the student's overseas enrolment.
In case of overseas exchange, intercampus exchange and study abroad programs, acceptance by the host university is also required before the loan application assessment.
The normal process of assessment is about four-five weeks before the overseas program commencement date.
At times, due to a large volume of loan applications, there can be delays in the processing of loan application assessments. Monash Abroad office endeavours to process the loan application assessment, before the commencement of the student's overseas 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?
- Students who want to change their loan amount after they have submitted an application, must apply to Monash Abroad.
- Students will be permitted to reduce their loan amount provided their request is received before they have submitted their 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.
- Students who apply for an increase in the loan amount will be advised whether their request has been granted as soon as practicable, but it may not be possible to assess the availability of funds immediately.
- Students cannot request a change in their loan amount once their Debt Confirmation form has been received by the Monash Abroad office.
- The OS-HELP loan can not be paid after the overseas program completion date.
- An OS-HELP loan application may be rejected if the application is submitted too close to the end of the overseas program.
- The granting of OS-HELP loans will not affect students' eligibility for Monash Abroad travel scholarships. Loans can be granted for eligible full-time overseas study, whether for a full semester or less. 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.
- Students 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 their lifetime.
- Whatever the actual period of full-time overseas study, only one loan may be granted for any six-month period of study. Students, who study overseas for two discrete periods, 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 the 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 the first loan was granted.
The second loan can only be paid six months after the 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. If you are successful you will receive:
- an electronic letter of offer, advising of the approved loan amount;
- a Debt Confirmation form, which must be signed and returned to Monash Abroad within one month from the date on the offer letter; and
- an OS-HELP Statement of Terms and Conditions booklet.
Loan offers will lapse if the Debt Confirmation form is not received within one month of the date on the 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.
This cannot be sent or received electronically or by fax, therefore, it must be completed before leaving 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 be a family member, a significant other, or a close friend of yours.
A Power of Attorney can sign the Debt Confirmation Form on behalf of the student, but an original or certified copy of the General Non-Enduring Power of Attorney form and a copy of the 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 the student's Monash student ID, course details (course, campus location) and Tax File Number information to complete the debt confirmation form on behalf of the student.
How will I receive the loan payment?
OS-HELP loans will be paid as a single electronic deposit into your nominated bank account about two-three weeks prior to the commencement of the overseas program. A legally binding debt to the Commonwealth will be incurred at the time the loan is paid into your bank account, even if the student does not proceed with the course of overseas study.
Monash Abroad may withdraw a loan offer before the loan has been paid into a student's bank account if:
- the student's circumstances change in a way that means he or she no longer meets the OS-HELP eligibility criteria;
- the student has provided false or misleading information; and/or
- the student 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 the student's 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.