Can I use my undergraduate course of study towards eligibility to access an OS-HELP loan during my Masters course of study?
No, typically not.
If the Masters course is a separate course of study to your undergraduate course – for example it may have a different degree code – the OS-HELP eligibility requirements must be assessed against each course of study.
If they are two separate courses, and with Masters courses typically being two equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) long (2 years full time), you would need to complete one full year of study (one EFTSL), before becoming eligible to access an OS-HELP loan in the final year of study. You must also meet all other eligibility requirements, including having at least 0.125 EFTSL (6 UOC) of study remaining that needs to be completed in Australia, at the end of their overseas study.
NOTE: students undertaking a Masters by Research will not be eligible to access an OS-HELP loan, as they will not fulfil the requirement of being a Commonwealth supported student. [Ministerial determination under subsection 36-15(2) of the Higher Education Support Act 2003].
Can I use my undergraduate course of study towards eligibility to access an OS-HELP loan during my honours course of study?
Yes, as long as all criteria is met.
The Higher Education Administrative Information for Providers (AIP) manual notes that “where a student is undertaking an honours component of an undergraduate course of study, the entire undergraduate course may be considered for the purposes of assessing eligibility for OS-HELP”.
As well as needing to meet the broader eligibility requirements, it is important to note that you are required to have 0.125 EFTSL (6 UOC) remaining, to be completed in Australia, at the conclusion of your overseas study.
However, if the honours one-year component is considered to be a separate and discrete course of study to be undertaken after a student has completed an undergraduate course, then they will not be eligible for an OS-HELP loan as they will not have completed the required one EFTSL prior study, in the current one-year honours course of study.
I am completing my undergraduate study overseas and returning to UNSW to study an additional honours year. Can this be used towards the eligibility requirement of having 0.125 EFTSL (6 UOC) to complete upon return to Australia?
You are required to have at least 0.125 EFTSL remaining of your current program to complete in Australia, at the conclusion of your overseas study.
If the honours one-year component that you intend to enrol into is considered to be a separate course of study and will be undertaken after you have completed your undergraduate course, then you will not be eligible for an OS-HELP loan, as you will not have 0.125 EFTSL remaining of your current program to complete upon return to Australia.
Can I specify a commencement date on my OS-HELP debt confirmation form that is after the start date of my overseas study start date?
Subsection 2.5.25 of the OS-HELP Guidelines 2013 states that “a student cannot specify a commencement date in their OS-HELP debt confirmation form that is before the date on which the student begins the overseas study”.
The commencement date of an OS-HELP loan does not have to be the commencement date of your overseas study – it can be a date on or after the commencement of the overseas study start date. However, the OS-HELP loan has to be approved before the end date of your overseas study.
Furthermore, it is important to note, as per section 32.21 of the Administrative Information for Providers (AIP) “a provider must not pay a student more than six months in advance of the commencement of the student’s six-month study period to which the OS-HELP assistance is related”.
Can the 0.125 EFTSL (6 UOC) of study I need to complete on my return to Australia be in the same study period as the overseas study?
Under division 118-1(f) of HESA, you, the student ‘will have to complete units of study that have a total EFTSL value of at least 0.125 EFTSL in order to complete the course requirements for that course of study’ on the completion of your study outside Australia.
It is the intention of this provision of HESA that you will have a reasonable portion of study remaining that needs to be completed on your return to Australia, regardless of whether it occurs in a subsequent study period or the same study period. However it is up to UNSW, as the provider, to be satisfied that you meet the eligibility requirements in HESA and that your application is in accordance with UNSW OS-HELP policy.