Commonwealth supported places

Discover government subsidised courses that let you study at a reduced cost

Why should you apply for a Commonwealth supported place?

If you’re looking for a more affordable way to study at university, then a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) could be the answer.

When you enrol in a CSP, the Australian Government pays for part of your course, and you don’t have to pay that portion back. You only pay the remainder of the fees, or what’s called a student contribution amount, which you can do through a HECS-HELP loan. CSP students save thousands on the cost of their education. 

More university courses are offering CSPs, which means you have a higher chance of securing one.

Available courses

To help you explore what's possible, we've put together a list of every CSP course available through Open Universities Australia. 

Make sure you read the FAQs further down this page to find out more about your eligibility and how to apply. We’re also here to answer your questions if you need us. 

What are the benefits of studying in a Commonwealth supported place?

You can reduce your course fees by up to 80% with some universities

You will start your career with much less debt than a fee-paying student

You can upskill as a postgraduate without adding significantly to your student loan

Explore undergraduate CSP courses

Start uni with more affordable course fees.

Undergraduate TAS-COU-DIP

Diploma of Counselling

Undergraduate USA-INT-ADG

Associate Degree in Information Technology

Undergraduate CUR-BED-DEG

Bachelor of Education (Primary Education)

Undergraduate LAT-HUN-DEG

Bachelor of Food and Nutrition

Undergraduate GRF-BUS-DEG

Bachelor of Business

Available majors

  • Major in Marketing
  • Major in Human Resource Management
  • Major in Management
  • Major in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Major in Sport Management
  • Major in Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Undergraduate USC-COM-DEG

Bachelor of Communication

Undergraduate SCU-SWK-DEG

Bachelor of Social Work

Undergraduate ECU-LAW-DEG

Bachelor of Laws

Explore postgraduate CSP courses

Pay less to upskill and advance your career.

Frequently asked CSP questions

What is a Commonwealth supported place (CSP)?

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is a government subsidised place in a university course. When you secure a CSP, you don’t pay the full cost of the course, but only part of it. The government pays for the rest. 

Most undergraduate degrees available through Open Universities Australia offer CSPs, and some postgraduate courses do too. 

Who is eligible for a CSP?

To be eligible for a CSP, you need to be:

  • an Australian or New Zealand citizen
  • an Australian permanent residency visa holder; or
  • an Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder. 
How do I apply for a CSP through Open Universities Australia?
  1. Check that the course you’re interested in offers Commonwealth supported places. This information is listed on the course description page under ‘CSP availability’.
  2. Apply for the course through us. 
  3. Select that you would like to apply for a Commonwealth supported place. You’ll be required to submit some supporting documentation, including proof of your citizenship status. 
  4. Wait for your university to confirm whether your application has been successful, and if the place you have been offered is a CSP. You’ll then be given the option to defer your student contribution amount with a HECS-HELP loan
Is it hard to get a CSP?

It depends on the university and course that you’re interested in. If you want to study an undergraduate course with a public university and you meet all the entry requirements, then it’s very likely you’ll land a Commonwealth supported place. 

However, some undergraduate courses (and most eligible postgraduate courses) have a quota on the number of CSPs they can offer. Places can be more competitive in those cases. 

What happens if you don’t get a CSP?

If you’re not eligible for a CSP or you aren’t offered one, you may be offered a fee-paying place instead. 

In a fee-paying place, the government doesn’t contribute to the cost of your education and you’re required to pay the full amount yourself. But you can apply for a FEE-HELP loan to defer payment until you’re earning a suitable income. 

You can read more about your eligibility for FEE-HELP here.

How much do CSP students pay for their course?

The amount you need to pay (known as your student contribution amount) depends on the field of study that your subjects fall into. Some subjects attract a lower student contribution amount than others because they are in industries that are considered ‘in demand’ (like teaching and agriculture).  

Visit StudyAssist to see what the maximum student contribution amount is in your field of study. 

What is the difference between a CSP and a HECS-HELP loan?

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is a place that you can secure in a university course if you want the government to cover part of your fees. You only pay for the remainder of those fees, or a student contribution amount.    

A HECS-HELP loan is the loan you can get to cover your student contribution amount. You will repay your HECS-HELP loan through your tax once your income reaches a certain threshold. 

Since they are different, you’ll need to complete both a CSP form and a HECS-HELP loan form when applying for your course. We’ll give you these forms when you apply online through us. 

It’s also important to note that eligibility for a CSP and HECS-HELP isn’t the same. You can read more about the differences on StudyAssist

How many years does a CSP last?

A Commonwealth supported place gives you up to 7 years of subsidised full-time (or equivalent) study.

Between 1 January 2022 and 1 January 2024, CSP rules included maintaining a 50% pass rate. This meant that if you failed more than half of the subjects in your course, the government would cancel your CSP. This rule is no longer in place.

I'm confused. Can I ask someone for advice about this?

Our student advisors are more than happy to help you understand how Commonwealth supported places work. Get in touch with an advisor by:

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