OS-Help Loans

OS-Help Loans

Thinking of going overseas as part of your Macquarie degree program? Need a little bit of HELP?

Going overseas is an exciting and life-changing opportunity, but it can be costly. An OS-HELP loan could assist you with overcoming potential financial barriers and make seizing this opportunity a little easier.

If you are a domestic student eligible for one of our MacAbroad Programs, you may be able to access OS-HELP Assistance.

What is OS-HELP?

The OS-HELP loan is an Australian government initiative with the aim of assisting students while studying overseas. This is a loan and not a scholarship. The amount borrowed will be added to a Commonwealth Supported student's HECS debt and must be repaid to the government. The OS-HELP loan is only available for University programs of which students receive credit towards their enrolled degree program.

Am I eligible?

You are eligible for OS‑HELP if you meet ALL of the below criteria:

  • eligible for a Macquarie University Student Exchange program and have been accepted by your host university
  • you are an Australian citizen, permanent humanitarian visa holder or a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder who meets the long-term residency requirements;
  • you have not received an OS‑HELP loan on more than one other occasion from Macquarie University or any other Australian education institution;
  • you are enrolled with Macquarie University as a Commonwealth supported student and have completed one equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) (24 CPS for Undergraduate and 16 CPS for Postgraduate (Coursework) - which is usually one year of full-time study;
  • you will be undertaking full-time study overseas and your overseas study that has credit bearing and will count towards the course requirements for the Australian course of study in which you are enrolled;
  • you must be enrolled in a full study load while (UG: min 9cp - max 12cp, PG: min 12cp - max 16cp) while on exchange ;
  • you will have at least 0.125 EFTSL (3 CPS for Undergraduate and 4 CPS for Postgraduate (Coursework) of your course of study left to complete once you have finished your overseas study (usually one unit of study); and
  • you meet the tax file number (TFN) requirements:
    • you must give your provider your valid TFN; OR
    • if you don’t have a TFN you can give your provider a Certificate of application for a TFN. This certificate is available from the Australian Taxation Office (opens in a new window) after you have applied for a TFN.

Other Conditions:

  • you have not completed your overseas study before applying for the loan
  • you are not going on your exchange program in the last semester of your degree
  • you cannot apply for 2 consecutive loans if the second overseas program begins within 6 month and 1 days of the first program commencement date.
  • OS-HELP is not available for students from third-party providers and/or cross-institutional study.
  • Students who are not accepted into the MacAbroad Student Exchange Program are not eligible for OS-HELP

How much can I borrow?

Successfully approved applications in 2017 will be able to borrow the below amounts for a six-month study period:

  • $6,567 (if you will not be studying in Asia); or
  • $7,880 if you will be studying in Asia; and
    • an additional $1,050 if you will be undertaking Asian language study in preparation for study in Asia.
    • this additional fund can only be approved if your Asian language study is taken prior to your overseas exchange program. It cannot be credit bearing.

These amounts will also apply for 2018 programs if your program offer letter states so. This is because you had applied for your 2018 program in 2017 and have been approved based on the amounts available at the time of your application assessment.

In 2018, the maximum you can borrow for a six-month study period is:

  • $6,665 (if you will not be studying in Asia); or
  • $7,998 if you will be studying in Asia; and
    • an additional $1,065 if you will be undertaking Asian language study in preparation for study in Asia.
    • this additional fund can only be approved if your Asian language study is taken prior to your overseas exchange program. It cannot be credit bearing.

These amounts will also apply for 2019 programs if your application is assessed prior to the release of the 2019 maximum amounts which are indexed every year under the Higher Education Grants Index.

When do I pay this back?

The load will be added to your accumulated HECS debt. This means the same repayment and conditions of that debt will apply to your OS-HELP loan.

How do I apply?

Easy! There are 2 steps:

Step 1:

All you have to do is apply for a MacAbroad Exchange Program through our online application form.

All students who apply for our exchange programs will automatically be assessed for OS-HELP (based on your credit points and/or known exchange programs) during assessment for the said program.  If we find you eligible, your MacAbroad Exchange Program offer letter will reflect the opt-in check box for OS HELP. It will look something like this:

You need to indicate that your wish to accept this OS-HELP offer.

Step 2:

Once the MacAbroad Team receives your signed offer complete with your indication that you wish to proceed with your OS-HELP Loan, our administration team will proceed to check your that you have not already received an OS-Help Loan within 6 months of your program commencement date. Once we are satisfied that you meet the above criteria, we will send you an email inviting you to submit your eCAF through your eStudent portal. Instructions will be attached on the email on how to proceed with this form.

Upon receiving a correctly completed eCAF, our administration team will check that each detail has been furnished correctly. You must also have already submitted your travel and insurance details via a separate webform emailed to you from our team. Once we have confirmed that all details have been provided correctly, your eCAF will be approved and payment will be requested from the university’s finance department. You will receive email communications at this point and a gauge of when payments are made. Please ensure you check your student email account frequently as instructions and details are often emailed to you.

Where do I go for more information?

Further details regarding from the Australian Government regarding OS-HELP loans, general OS-HELP eligibility and Terms and Conditions are located on their website.

Please feel free to also email us at mi.exchange@mq.edu.au or attend one of our Information Sessions to meet with our MacAbroad Advisors.

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