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.
In 2023, more university courses are offering CSPs, which means you have a higher chance of securing one.
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
- 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
Explore postgraduate CSP courses
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?
- Check that the course you’re interested in offers Commonwealth supported places. This information is listed on the course description page under ‘CSP availability’.
- Apply for the course through us.
- 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.
- 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.
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 can last for up to 7 years of full-time study (or equivalent). But you do have to stay on top of your subjects and make sure you maintain a reasonable completion rate.
This means you can't fail more than 50% of the subjects you attempt (after attempting 8 or more subjects in a bachelor level or higher program, or 4 or more subjects in an undergraduate certificate, diploma or associate degree). If you do, the government can’t continue to subsidise your place.
We know that life can have other plans and focusing on your studies isn’t always easy, so if you are experiencing challenges, don’t panic. Your university will be able to connect you with academic or wellbeing support services to help you find the best way forward. You can also get in touch with our student advisors for advice about changing your enrolment.
Open Universities Australia is a not-for-profit organisation helping every Australian access thousands of university courses.
Over 505,000 students have enrolled in university through us since 1993.
Our friendly student advisors are here to help
We're here to guide you every step of the way with advice on:
- choosing a course that suits you best
- enrolling and planning your studies
- understanding your funding options.