Scholarships and Student Loans - Australian Citizens

Scholarships and Awards

There are many scholarships available at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and in many fields of study.
  • Australian Postgraduate Awards (APA): Australian Postgraduate Awards scholarships are awarded to students of exceptional research potential who undertake a higher degree by research at an eligible Australia higher education provider. Australian citizens, New Zealand citizens, and holders of Australian permanent resident visas are eligible to receive an APA.

  • Time frame: APA scholarships are available for a period of two years for a Research Masters or three years, with a possible extension or six months, for a Research Doctorate.
Award holders receive an annual stipend to assist with general living costs and may also be eligible for other allowances.
  • Commonwealth Scholarships Program: The Commonwealth Scholarships Program offers support to eligible Indigenous higher education students with the general costs of study and support where they have had to move from a rural or remote area in order to study. The CSP is administered on behalf of the Australian Government by eligible higher education providers. There are many scholarship categories under the Commonwealth Scholarships Program banner which include:

  • Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarships (CECS)

  • Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarships (CAS)

  • Indigenous Access Scholarships (IAS)

  • Indigenous Enabling Scholarships (IES)

  • Associate Degree Scholarships

  • National Priority Scholarships (NPS) targeting undergraduate students enrolling in priority disciplines; and

  • National Accommodation Scholarships (NAS) for students relocating interstate to study specialist courses not available near their home.

  • APAI – Australian Postgraduate Award (Industry) – These are similar to the APA, except they are only available when a project supervisor has received a Linkage Project Grant from the Australian Research Council to undertake collaborative research and development with an organisation, including within industry, on a specific topic.

Student Loans

There are number of loan types available to Australian Citizens. Following are the loans:
  1. General Purpose Loan:  The General Purpose Loan is available to Australian students for necessary expenses associated with educational and directly related living costs, especially where continuation of studies may be jeopardized. Eligible students may borrow up to $4000 in an academic year ($8000 in total throughout study period).

  2. Emergency Student Loan: The Emergency Student Loan, for which no guarantor is required, is available to assist eligible students overcome urgent, unforeseen contingencies.  All full-time students, including those in their first year, are eligible to apply for this loan. New Zealand citizens can also apply for an emergency student loan. Eligible students can apply for up to $1500 at any one time.

  3. Student Exchange Loan: The Student Exchange Loan can assist with the cost of studying overseas. Under the Student Exchange Loan, one can apply to borrow up to a maximum of $12,000 (that is, equivalent to three General Purpose Loans), provided the amount that you borrow under the student loan scheme does not exceed $12,000 in total during your current course of study.

  4. HELP (Higher Education Loan Programme): The Higher Education Loan Programme is a suite of loans funded by the Australian Government for Australian citizens and holders of a permanent humanitarian visa.
As a domestic student, the type of fees one will pay for the studies depends on whether they are studying at university, at an approved private higher education provider, or at an approved Vocational Education and Training (VET) provider.
  • If you are studying at university or at an approved private higher education provider you will be offered either a Commonwealth supported place or a fee paying place.

  • If you are studying at an approved VET provider you will be enrolled as either a state subsidized student or fee paying student.
A Commonwealth supported place is substantially subsidized by the Australian Government so that students are only required to pay ‘student contribution’ amounts for their units of study.

The Government administers five HELP loans schemes to assist students with the cost of their tuition. The right loan for you will depend on your circumstances, eligibility and where you want to study.

HELP consists of:

  • HECS-HELP: a loan to help eligible Commonwealth supported students pay their student contribution amounts.

  • FEE-HELP: a loan to help eligible fee paying students pay their tuition fees

  • SA-HELP: a loan to help eligible students pay their Student Services and Amenities fee

  • OS-HELP: a loan to help eligible Commonwealth supported students pay their overseas study expenses

  • VET FEE-HELP: VET FEE-HELP is available to assist eligible students studying higher level vocational education and training (VET) qualifications to pay their tuition fees. Higher level VET qualifications are at the diploma level and above as well as a limited number of Certificate IV qualifications. VET FEE HELP can be used to pay all or part of an eligible student’s tuition fees, but cannot be used for additional study costs such as accommodation or text books.


HECS-HELP is an Australian Government loan scheme that enables eligible students in a Commonwealth supported place to defer payment of their student contribution amounts until their income reaches the repayment threshold for compulsory repayment. This is indexed annually and is $51,309 for the 2013/14 income year.

Eligibility: Australian citizens or holders of a permanent humanitarian visa are eligible for a HECS-HELP loan, and are entitled to a 10% discount if they choose to pay their student contribution amounts upfront.


FEE-HELP is an Australian Government loan scheme that helps eligible higher education students enrolled in a fee-paying place to pay their tuition fees. Non-award programs are not eligible for FEE-HELP.

To be eligible for FEE-HELP you must be either:
  • An Australian citizen AND will undertake, in Australia, at least one unit of study (course) contributing to your course of study (program); or
  • A permanent ‘humanitarian’ visa holder AND will be resident in Australia for the duration of your unit (course); or
  • A permanent visa holder AND will undertake bridging study for overseas trained professionals AND will be resident in Australia for the duration of your unit (course).
FEE-HELP enables eligible students to obtain a loan to pay all or part of their tuition fees. It does not cover any administrative or general service charges. Over their lifetime students may borrow an amount up to the FEE-HELP limit to pay their tuition fees. Under FEE-HELP, the Government pays the loan amount directly to the University. Recipients then repay the loan through the taxation system once their income reaches the minimum threshold for compulsory repayment.

The FEE-HELP limit is indexed each year and in 2014 it is $120,002 for Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Science students and $96,000 for all other students.


OS-HELP is a loan which provides financial assistance to eligible Commonwealth supported students to undertake part of their course of study overseas. OS-HELP is paid as a lump sum and may be used to cover expenses associated with the overseas study, such as airfares, accommodation, and other travel or settling expenses. Eligible students may also receive a supplementary amount to undertake language study in preparation for overseas study in Asia.

Once paid, the OS-HELP loan is consolidated with a student’s accumulated HELP debt.

To be eligible for an OS-HELP loan, students must meet the Australian Government eligibility requirements.

  • Australian Citizen, or
  • Permanent humanitarian visa holder
  •  Be enrolled as a Commonwealth supported student in an undergraduate or postgraduate degree program at The University of Queensland; and

  • Have completed the equivalent of at least two full-time standard semesters of study in Australia that count towards your current program at the University of Queensland (excluding concurrent Diploma credit).

  • Have at least 2 units of credit remaining in your current program upon the completion of your overseas study (not including your overseas study).
Overseas Study
  •  Be undertaking full-time study while outside Australia; and

  • Have that overseas study count as credit toward your current program requirements.
 Loan Entitlement
  •  Have not received more than one previous OS-HELP Loan; and

  • Will not receive a second OS-HELP loan for the same six-month period.
  •  Provide, or have previously provided, your Tax File Number to The University of Queensland; and

  • Submit an online application form (please see below); and

  • Be selected by The University of Queensland for an OS-HELP Loan.

Loan amount

The maximum amounts available for study in 2014 are:
  • $6,250 for study not in Asia;
  • $7,500 for study in Asia; and
  • $1,000 supplementary amount for preparatory Asian language study (available only for students applying for an OS-HELP loan for study in Asia).
Loan amounts will be awarded in increments of $1000 up to the maximum available,     with the minimum loan being $1000.

The University will determine the amount of the loan to be awarded to each eligible applicant and does not guarantee to award the maximum amount allowed to all applicants selected to receive a loan.

SA-Help loan

SA-HELP is a loan scheme that assists eligible students to pay for all or part of their student services and amenities fee. The student services and amenities fee is a fee that universities and other approved higher education providers can charge for student services and amenities of a non-academic nature, such as sporting and recreational activities, employment and career advice, child care, financial advice and food services. Students can choose to defer all or part of their fee for the relevant year.

Eligibility: To receive a SA-HELP loan, you need to:
  • be an Australian citizen or hold a permanent humanitarian visa;
  • be enrolled in a course of study with a provider;
  • meet the tax file number (TFN) requirements by giving your provider either your TFN or a Certificate of application for a tax file number from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO); and
Repayment Details:
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