OS-HELP (Higher Education Loan Program) policy
To provide OS-HELP financial assistance in order to increase participation by undergraduate students in approved overseas study opportunities which internationalise their learning experience.
Eligible enrolled Higher Education Commonwealth-supported Undergraduate Students
International students, postgraduate students, domestic full-fee students, TAFE students, and holders of Permanent Residence (PR) status.
- To implement the Commonwealth OS-HELP Guidelines
- To specify the application, selection and offer process.
OS-HELP shall provide Commonwealth financial assistance in the form of a loan to eligible students who undertake part of their program of study overseas. OS-HELP assistance may be used to cover expenses associated with the overseas study, such as airfares, accommodation and other travel or settling-in expenses.
2. Minimum and maximum duration of the overseas study period
2.1 The study period shall be deemed to be of six months’ duration, but may be shorter than six months, providing that the student meets all of the eligibility criteria outlined in Paragraph 4 below.
2.2 The maximum number of study periods shall be two, which can be consecutive study periods or two separate study periods.
2.3 The commencement date of the study period shall be the first day that a student commences their study with an overseas education institution.
2.4 Loans shall be provided for a six months study period regardless of the actual duration of the study period.
2.5 The termination date of the study period shall be six months after the date of commencement of the study period.
3. Value of the loan
3.1 The maximum value of the Loan is determined by the Commonwealth Government, and shall be no greater than $5000 for each study period.
3.2 The minimum value of the Loan shall be $1000 for each six-month study period.
3.3 The Commonwealth Government shall apply a loan fee of 20% of the value of the loan which shall be applied at the time the debt is incurred by the student.
4. Eligibility requirements
4.1 The eligibility criteria shall be consistent with the Guidelines.
4.2 The eligibility criteria for an OS-HELP loan shall be as follows. Applicants must
(a) be Australian citizens or holders of a permanent humanitarian visa; and
(b) not have received OS-HELP on more than one other occasion; and
(c) have already completed at least 1 equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) or 96 credit points of study that counts towards their program of study; and
(d) be enrolled in an undergraduate program of study as
a. Commonwealth supported student; or
b. a contributing student (i.e. a Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) liable student); or
c. an exempt student who is exempt on the basis of receiving a merit-based equity scholarship, and
(e) be enrolled in full-time study with an overseas higher education institution for study that commences on or after 1 January 2005 and for which they will be outside Australia whilst undertaking the study; and
(f) have their overseas study count as credit for the program of study in which they are enrolled at RMIT; and
(g) still have at least 0.5 EFTSL (or 48 credit points) yet to complete in their program of study at RMIT on return from their overseas study; and
(h) meet the Tax File Number (TFN) requirements; and
(i) complete and sign an OS-HELP debt confirmation form; and
(j) not have been granted an OS-HELP loan by another provider for an overlapping six months study period; and
(k) have had their overseas study approved in the manner prescribed by RMIT.
5. Full-time study requirements
Overseas study shall be defined as full time if it is equivalent to a full-time load at RMIT, i.e. a minimum of 36 credit points or 0.375 EFTL for a semester or 72 credit points or 0.75 EFTSL for a year.
6. Application process
The University shall:
6.1 have an application process and form;
6.2 communicate to enrolled undergraduate students the availability of OS-HELP loans.
7.1 In accordance with the Commonwealth OS-HELP Guidelines, selection shall be made on the basis of merit.
7.2 Merit shall be determined by the student’s Grade Point Average (GPA).
7.3 A ranked listing of eligible applicants shall be produced using GPA.
7.4 A selection panel shall be established to determine the final allocation of loans.
Offers to successful applicants shall
8.1 be made according to their ranking by GPA until all funds have been committed;
8.2 be made in writing only by an officer of the University expressly authorised to do so;
8.3 include details of the amount and terms of the OS-HELP loan;
8.4 be conditional on the student continuing to be eligible at the commencement of the overseas study period;
8.5 be conditional on the student maintaining eligibility and providing evidence of continuing eligibility.
9. Acceptance of offer
Successful applicants shall
9.1 accept the offer of an OS-HELP loan in writing, and
9.2 complete and sign an OS-HELP debt confirmation form, and
9.3 provide their Tax File Number.
10. Payments to students
10.1 Payments shall only be made when all evidence of eligibility has been received.
10.2 Payments shall be made following receipt of a correctly completed OS-HELP debt confirmation form and Tax File Number
10.3 A single payment shall be made for each OS-HELP loan.
10.4 Payments shall be made via electronic funds transfer.
10.5 The OS-HELP debt is incurred from the day that the student receives their OS-HELP assistance being the day that an electronic funds transfer occurs.
All information provided by applicants shall be treated as confidential, according to University Policy 18.104.22.168 Confidentiality of Student Records.
12. Grievance procedures
Grievances shall be resolved in accordance with the RMIT Student Complaints Policy.
Information on recipients and loans shall be reported annually to the Commonwealth government in the format and timeframe prescribed.[Next: Supporting documents and information]