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:

  • you are eligible for a Macquarie University Student Exchange Mobility 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 in a coursework program with Macquarie University as a Commonwealth supported student and have completed one equivalent full-time student load (1.0 EFTSL) in your program, which is one year of standard full-time study - that is 24 credit points (cp) for undergraduate students or 32cp for postgraduate coursework students;
  • you will be undertaking full-time study overseas and your overseas study is 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-time study load while on semester exchange (ie, a minimum of 9cp or maximum of 12cp for undergraduate students; or a minimum of 12cp or maximum of 16cp for postgraduate coursework students). Short-term program equivalencies is already predetermined as listed on the website;
  • you will have at least 0.125 EFTSL  of your course of study left to complete once you have finished your overseas study (usually one unit of study - ie, 3cp for undergraduate or 4cp for postgraduate coursework students); and
  • you meet the tax file number (TFN) requirements:
    • you have provided your valid TFN to Macquarie University; OR
    • if you don’t have a TFN, you have provided Macquarie University with 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 months and 1 day 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?

Applications assessed and approved 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.
  • From 2019, the OS-HELP amount for Short-Term Programs are set at a default amount of $2000. Should you need an amount larger than this, your situation will be assessed on a case-by-case basis so please notify the Macquarie Abroad Team.

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:

Submit an application for a MacAbroad Exchange Program using the online application form.

All students who apply for a Macquarie Abroad exchange program will be automatically assessed for an OS-HELP loan. 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 you wish to accept this OS-HELP offer by ticking the box. Please note that once you tick this box, you also confirm that you accept and agree to the OS-HELP Fine Prints.

Step 2:

Once the MacAbroad Team receives your signed acceptance of offer, including your indication that you wish to proceed with your OS-HELP loan, we will proceed to check your that you have not already received an OS-Help loan within 6 months of your program commencement date.

If we are satisfied that you meet all the OS-HELP eligibility criteria, we will send you an email inviting you to submit an Electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) through your eStudent portal. Instructions will be provided on how to complete this form.

In addition to the eCAF, you will also need to have submitted your travel and insurance details via a separate webform which will be emailed to you.

Upon receiving your completed eCAF and travel details, we will verify that all information has been correctly provided. If all information is correct, your eCAF will be approved and payment of your OS-HELP loan will be requested from the University’s finance department. An email communication will be sent to you at this point confirming your approval along with an estimate of when your payments may be made. Please ensure you check your Macquarie student email account regularly.

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.

You may also email us at mi.exchange@mq.edu.au or attend one of our Information Sessions to meet with our MacAbroad Advisors if you have any further questions.

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