OS-HELP loan

What is OS-HELP?

OS-HELP is a government-funded loan available to students seeking assistance in paying for a study overseas program, whilst also being enrolled in a commonwealth supported place. It can be used for a range of expenses such as airfares, accommodation, and other travel or study expenses.

Find out more

Find out about the Australian Government’s OS-HELP loan which can help eligible students with some of the costs associated with studying overseas.

Eligibility requirements

  • 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;
  • You are enrolled with an Australian provider as a Commonwealth supported student and have completed one equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) - which is usually one year of full-time study;
  • You will be undertaking full-time study overseas and your overseas study will count towards the course requirements for the Australian course of study in which you are enrolled;
  • 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); 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.
    • You must have a Unique Student Identifier (USI). From 1 Jan 2021, domestic higher education students require a USI to be eligible for Commonwealth assistance (Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and/or HELP Loan).
    • Applying for a USI is fast and free, and you keep the same USI for life. You can apply for a USI in as little as five minutes at usi.gov.au. 
    • You can read more about the USI at UOW's USI webpage. If you have any questions, please contact the AskUOW team at askuow@uow.edu.au or call 1300 275 869.
  • Please note OS Help Loans are only available for in-country programs. If you are undertaking a Global Learning Online program, you will not be eligible to receive an OS Help Loan.

How much can I borrow?

The amount you can borrow using an OS Help loan is determined by your provider in accordance with their OS Help policy, the OS Help Guidelines and the Higher Education Support Act 2003.


Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Countries outside of Asia

$2000 $4000 $7,921

Countries in Asia

$2000 $4000 $9,504

In 2024, the maximum you can borrow for a six-month study period is:

  • $7,921  (if you do not study in Asia); or
  • $9,504  if you study in Asia; PLUS an extra $1,263 if you do Asian language study in preparation for study in Asia.

Your provider will tell you how much OS-HELP you can borrow. 

How do I apply?

To apply you must first submit your Exchange, Study Abroad, or Short Course/Internship application within Student Mobility Online.

Once you have completed and submitted your application, an option to apply for OS Help will appear in your Student Mobility Online dashboard. If you are deemed eligible you will receive an “OS Help Offer Letter” detailing your loan offer. To accept the offer for your loan you must submit your Financial Details and Debt Confirmation form within Student Mobility Online when prompted. All students must meet the eligibility requirements set by the Australian Government in order to be successful in obtaining an OS Help loan. Your loan application is not complete until you have submitted your online Debt Confirmation form.

Application deadlines

  • Eligibility Checks are done on a fortnightly basis.
  • For Semester Exchange students OS Help loans are paid within 4 weeks of your overseas program.
  • For short course students OS Help loans are paid within 4 months of your overseas program providing sufficient documentation has been provided.

Please note: It can take up to 8 weeks to process your loan at the time you submit your eligibility check. No loans can be paid after the completion of your overseas program.

Giving false or misleading information regarding your OS Help application is a serious offense under the criminal code act of 1995. If we suspect you have provided misleading information you may be reported to the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

Further information

Find out more from the Australian Government about how OS Help loans work and the general OS Help eligibility criteria.