Commonwealth supported places

When you study in a Commonwealth supported place (CSP), the Australian Government pays for part of your education. Other real benefits include securing your degree, cost savings, access to government loans and easy enrolment.

The benefits of a Commonwealth supported place

When you're enrolled in a university course, you're entitled to additional student services and amenities provided by the university. These can include library services, career advice and online jobs boards, learning centres, counselling and wellbeing services, and alumni networks. There are many benefits for Commonwealth supported students, so we've narrowed it down to a handful of the very best:

Security

Sometimes universities change the structure of degrees. They might add, remove or change the units that you need to study. This can have consequences when you're ready to apply to graduate. Commonwealth supported students complete an agreed structure for the year that you're admitted into your degree, and every unit you complete will be honoured by your university.

If you're not a Commonwealth supported student, and choose to study unit-by-unit—we call this Open Access—when it comes time to graduate you might find that the structure of your degree has changed since you started. Some of the units you completed may no longer be part of your degree. So when you're ready to graduate you might need to study extra units. Meaning you'll spend more time and money on your studies.

Pricing

Commonwealth supported place tuition fees are shared between the Australian Government and you, the student. This means that the government pays a portion of the cost of your course directly to the uni. You only have to pay the balance—known as the student contribution.

The government's contribution is called the subsidy amount. It's not a loan, so there is no repayment required. You don't have to pay this back. Ever.

Your share is called the student contribution or enrolment fee. This is the amount your university charges for each unit. You can pay your student contribution up-front under the HECS rate, or pay it using a HECS-HELP loan.

Even if you're studying a full degree, you'll be charged on a unit-by-unit basis. Unit prices may change based on government legislation, but the cost for each unit you enrol in is officially locked in after the census date. From there, your share of the unit fees will be logged as a HECS loan debt. There's no interest charged on a HECS loan, however your debt will be indexed each year to reflect changes in the consumer price index.

Costs are not regulated for Open Access students, so you might find that the cost of a unit can increase at your university's discretion.

See Fees & Charges for more information on unit fees and administration fees.

Access to a government loan

Commonwealth supported students have access to HECS-HELP. HECS-HELP is an Australian Government loan that helps eligible students pay their student contributions. These loans are interest free. You can potentially avoid up-front unit costs by deferring payment and choosing to pay for your degree with HECS-HELP.

Ease

Commonwealth supported students apply for HECS-HELP only once per university. This saves you time and effort. Open Access students who choose to pay for their degree with FEE-HELP must apply for funding for every single enrolment, year after year.

Saving time and effort on administration means that you can pre-plan your future units. This makes re-enrolment much easier, and gives you more time to focus on your studies.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a Commonwealth supported place, you need to meet the following criteria:

Residency criteria for Commonwealth supported students

  • An Australian citizen residing in Australia for all or part of your studies, or
  • A New Zealand citizen who will be residing in Australia for the duration of your studies, or
  • The holder of a permanent visa (or humanitarian visa) who will be residing in Australia for the duration of your studies.

Selection criteria for Commonwealth supported students

  • See the Are you eligible section of your course page.

To learn more about Commonwealth supported place eligibility requirements, read Study Assist's publications about government assistance for financing tertiary study.

Commonwealth supported place degrees

All of our undergraduate degrees have Commonwealth supported places available:

We also offer Commonwealth supported places in our postgraduate Master of Teaching (Birth to Five Years) degree.

Applications

You can apply for a Commonwealth supported place at the How to apply section of your course page. Apply before our close of application date—you'll find that date and other important dates at Key Dates.

Once you accept the offer, you'll need to submit a HECS-HELP form before you can enrol in your course with your university.