Can New Zealanders get a student loan in Australia?
Most New Zealand citizens aren’t typically eligible for a student loan, or HELP loan, in Australia. However, they can access Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) instead.
New Zealand citizens will only be charged domestic fees, as opposed to significantly higher international student fees.
Additionally, New Zealand citizens are entitled to study at Australian tertiary institutions without requiring a student visa, unlike other international students.
What is a CSP?
A Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) is a place at a university or higher education provider when the government pays part of your fees. This part is a subsidy, not a loan, and you don’t have to pay it back.
However, this subsidy does not cover the entire cost of your study. The remaining portion is called the ‘student contribution amount,’ for which YOU are liable.
What’s the difference between a CSP and HELP loan?
A CSP and a HECS-HELP loan are not the same thing. A CSP is the subsidy paid by the government, and HECS-HELP is a loan you can get to pay your student contribution amount.
Eligibility for a CSP and HECS-HELP is not the same.
While most CSPs are for undergraduate study, only some providers offer CSPs at the postgraduate level. If you are a postgraduate student, you should check with your provider to see if they offer CSPs for your course.
Being eligible for a CSP does not guarantee that you will be offered one. You must meet the academic entry requirements set by your provider to get into the course.
Please note that the student contribution amount must be paid by the census date, and you will need to organise to pay this amount upfront.
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How can I get a CSP?
To get a CSP you must:
- Check if the course you want to study is a CSP (call and ask your higher education provider or check their website)
- Apply for the course: through a Tertiary Admissions Centre (TAC); or directly through your chosen higher education provider
- Follow the instructions to ‘accept your offer’ in the letter that your provider will send you. The letter will tell you if the place you have been offered is a CSP or not
- Complete your CSP and HECS-HELP loan application form given to you by your provider
What happens if I’m not in a CSP?
In some courses, there aren’t any CSPs, and in other courses, CSPs might be limited (not all courses and providers offer the same).
If you are not offered a CSP, you will be enrolled in a full fee-paying place when the government does not pay the subsidy, and you are responsible for paying the full amount for your fees.
Can some New Zealanders get a HELP loan?
Some New Zealand citizens can get a HELP loan. To be eligible for a HELP loan you must:
- Be a New Zealand Special Category visa (SCV) holder or formerly be a Special Category Visa holder and on a pathway to Australian citizenship
- Meet ALL of the long-term residency requirements; and
- Be living in Australia while you study
The long-term residency requirements for New Zealand SCV holders (and former SCV holders) are that you:
- First began to be usually resident in Australia at least 10 years ago, 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
- Have been in Australia for at least:
- a total of eight out of the past 10 years (from when you apply for the loan), and
- a total of 18 months out of the last two years (from when you apply for the loan)
If you do not meet ALL of the above requirements, you cannot get a HELP loan.
Can I get a NZ student loan when studying overseas?
If you plan to enroll at an overseas campus or through a New Zealand education provider, you may be eligible for a student loan or allowance through StudyLink. Typically, your payments will be the same as when you’re in New Zealand, but you will need to meet certain criteria:
- Studying a full-time course at level 7 or above on the National Qualifications Framework
- Studying at the overseas campus or delivery site
- Studying part of your qualification in New Zealand
Click here to find more information about receiving a NZ student loan/allowance while studying overseas.
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About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.