Commonwealth Support & HECS-HELP

What is a CSP?

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is a domestic, subsidised higher education place. The Australian Government subsidises a portion of the tuition fee cost of your place. This subsidy results in you only paying the 'student contribution' amount for your units of study.

If you are not enrolled in a CSP, you are enrolled as a non-subsidised, domestic fee paying student.

All applicants are required to read and understand the Commonwealth supported places and HECS-HELP information booklet (PDF, 462 KB), so that you are aware of your obligations as the recipient of assistance from the Commonwealth. Please be sure to read this as it explains in detail your obligations and responsibilities under the contract.

What is the benefit of a CSP?

A CSP is generally much cheaper than a fee paying place and, if you are eligible, you may have the option to defer your student contribution amount to a HECS-HELP loan so you do not have to pay anything upfront.

How much will study in a CSP cost?

Please visit the Commonwealth Supported Fees page for the current UNSW student contribution amounts.

Am I eligible for a CSP?

You must meet the citizenship and residency requirements to access a CSP. In summary, you must be either:

  • an Australian citizen who will undertake in Australia at least one unit of study contributing to your program (course of study), or
  • a New Zealand citizen or a permanent visa holder who will be resident in Australia for the duration of your courses (unit(s) of study).

If you are an international student and you are obtaining or have obtained permanent residency, you must notify the University by the census date. We will require you to submit evidence of the change prior to the census date of your enrolment.

Please note, changing your residency or citizenship status does not automatically entitle you to a CSP. You will be transferred to a domestic fee paying place in the first instance and you must apply for a CSP via the University Admissions Centre (UAC).

Am I eligible for HECS-HELP?

HECS-HELP allows you to defer your student contribution to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and pay it later.

To be eligible for HECS-HELP, you must apply for or have received an offer to a CSP and you must be either:

  • an Australian citizen and complete at least one (unit of study) course in Australia, or
  • an Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder and reside in Australia for the duration of your units of study (courses), or
  • a New Zealand citizen and reside in Australia for the duration of your units of study (courses); and meet all of the long term residency requirements as follows:
    • you first began to be usually resident in Australia at least 10 years ago, and
    • were a child under the age of 18 with no spouse or de facto partner when you first began to be usually resident in Australia, and
    • at the time of applying for HECS-HELP, you have been in Australia for at least:
      • a total of eight out of the past 10 years, and
      • a total of 18 months out of the last two years.

UNSW will ask you to verify your details and provide documentation to support your claim. You should ensure you have a current passport and/or movement record if required.

'Being eligible does not guarantee that you will be offered a Commonwealth supported place in the course of your choice or at your chosen university.' More details on Study Assist.

You will also require a valid Tax File Number (TFN). If you do not have a TFN, please see these instructions on how to apply for a Tax File Number.

How do I apply for a CSP?

You must apply for a Commonwealth supported place via the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) or via UNSW Apply Online.

If you are offered a Commonwealth supported place at UNSW, you will be required to complete the ‘Request for Commonwealth Support and HECS-HELP’ form as part of the online acceptance and enrolment process.

You must complete the form by the relevant census date of your enrolment.

The form will cover the duration of your study in the program of study for which you completed the form. If you change your program of study and your new program is eligible for Commonwealth support, you will be asked to complete a new 'Request for Commonwealth Support and HECS-HELP' form as part of the online acceptance process.

Failure to complete the form by the relevant census date will result in the cancellation of your enrolment as a Commonwealth supported student.

Important information about this scheme

Applications for Commonwealth assistance (including applying for a CSP, HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP or SA-HELP) cannot be accepted after the census date (or incurral date for SA-HELP) under any circumstances.

If your changed circumstances affects your eligibility, you must notify the University immediately: Fees@unsw.edu.au

You must finalise your payment option by the census date of your enrolment by either:

  • ensuring full payment of the student contribution is made by the census date, or
  • providing your Tax File Number or Certificate of Application for your Tax File Number by the census date (if eligible to defer your student contribution).

If you are a New Zealand citizen who holds a Special Category Visa but you do not meet the long-term residency requirements, OR you are a holder of a permanent non-humanitarian visa, you must pay your student contribution amounts upfront on or before the census date, as you are not eligible for a HECS-HELP loan.

 You need to provide your TFN if:

  • you are eligible and want to take out a HECS-HELP loan for all or part of your student contribution, or
  • you are paying your student contribution up-front but, as a safety net, you want to ensure that if you fail to make the payment on or before the census date you can still obtain a HECS-HELP loan.

If you have not paid your student contribution in full on or before the census date of the relevant teaching period and you have not provided your TFN, UNSW will be obligated to cancel your enrolment as a Commonwealth supported student.