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OS-HELP loans

Heading abroad? Get set for take-off with OS-HELP.
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If you’re one of our domestic students and are conducting some of your studies overseas, you may be eligible for OS-HELP assistance.

Going abroad for part of your degree can be a life-changing experience, which is why OS-HELP loans are available to help remove the financial barrier.

Who can apply?

You are eligible to apply if you are participating in:

  • an approved exchange program
  • an overseas professional placement (clinical, industry or internship)
  • a fieldwork program
  • a program where study is for academic credit or is otherwise a mandatory component of your current course at the University of Sydney.

You also need to satisfy the following criteria.

  • You’re 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’re enrolled as a Commonwealth-supported student at the University of Sydney.
  • You have completed one full year of study (48 credit points) towards your current course.
  • You still need to complete at least six credit points towards your course on return from overseas study.
  • You have not been granted OS-HELP assistance by another university for an overlapping six-month period.

Other conditions:

  • You are not eligible for a loan to cover overseas study that you have already completed.
  • You cannot be selected for OS-HELP more than six months before the commencement of your overseas study.

How much can I borrow?

Successful applicants can borrow up to the following amounts per six-month study period:


  • non-Asian destinations: $2000, $4000, $6470
  • Asian destinations: $2500, $5000, $7764
  • non-Asian destinations: $2000, $4000, $6567
  • Asian destinations: $2500, $5000, $7880
*Applications for the 2017 loan rates will be paid in 2017.
If you are taking a relevant and endorsed Asian language course before studying in Asia, you can also apply for an Asian language loan of:
  • 2016: $1035
  • 2017: $1050

The language course must be in preparation for your primary study in Asia and cannot be credited to your degree.

You can receive one loan per six-month study period and can access a total of two OS-HELP loans over your lifetime.

When do I have to pay it back?

The loan will be added to your HECS debt, and will have the same repayment conditions as that debt. You won’t be charged any additional loan fees.

How and when to apply

Application forms are available from Sydney Abroad staff at the Student Centre on Level 3 of the Jane Foss Russell Building.

You need to apply for your loan in the six-month period before heading overseas. Allocation of OS-HELP loans normally takes place each semester. Please submit your application by:

  • 31 October for study commencing in summer break or Semester One of the following year
  • 30 June for study commencing in winter break or Semester Two of the same year
  • If you’re completing a short-term program, placement or internship, please apply no later than three months before commencement of study.

We may consider late applications if funding is still available.

If you are applying for a second OS-HELP loan, submit your application one month before the end of the first loan. Payment for an approved second loan will be made close to the start of the second six-month period.

Receiving your funds

If you are successful we will let you know via your University email. Please accept your offer straight away.

The money will be paid into the bank account you nominate and will take about 10 working days from the time you accept the offer. To enable us to transfer the funds, you will need to:

  • complete and submit an OS-HELP Debt Confirmation Form
  • confirm your bank details when you accept the formal offer.

What if my plans change?

If your plans or circumstances change before you receive the funds, we may withdraw the offer. If you have already received money from us, the debt has already been incurred and can only be repaid through the Australian Taxation Office, in the same way that you repay your student contribution through the Higher Education Contribution Scheme.