Guidelines for OS-HELP assistance

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Guidelines for OS-HELP assistance

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Application and selection procedures

Overview

OS-HELP is a Commonwealth government loan program that provides financial assistance to eligible students wishing to undertake part of their Commonwealth Supported program overseas. Annually, the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is allocated a number of loans and maintains guidelines for the application and selection process. These guidelines are publicly available as part of the conditions attached to the allocation.

The following guidelines outline the application and selection procedures for OS-HELP assistance.

Legislation

1. The University will determine the eligibility of students for assistance in accordance with section 118-1 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (the Act) and the associated application procedures Guidelines for OS-HELP and Administrative Information for Providers.

2. The University guidelines outlining the application and selection procedures are detailed in this procedure. The Australian Government guidelines for OS-HELP are available on the Department of Education website.

3. Two main application rounds are held each year with application deadlines in October for overseas study commencing between January and June of the following year and in June for overseas study commencing between July and December of the current year.

3.1 The Director, Student Services and Engagement, or nominee, will announce an application closing date on the USC website. No late applications will be accepted other than in exceptional circumstances.

3.2 Where the University's OS-HELP allocations are not fully committed after the first round of applications, a second round of applications may be opened to students. Students who are unsuccessful in any application round may be eligible to reapply in following rounds.

4. To be considered for a loan, applicants must obtain an Application for OS-HELP assistance form (PDF 248KB) and submit completed form to the Student Finance Team, Student Services and Engagement, Student Central, Ground Floor Building C, Sippy Downs Campus.

* For PDF documents you must have the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded from the Adobe Download page.

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Selection process

5. The eligibility of each applicant will be assessed in accordance with the criteria as specified in section 118-1 of the Act.

5.1 A student will not be selected for OS-HELP assistance unless the University is satisfied that the student will meet, at the commencement of the six-month study period, the eligibility criteria for OS-HELP assistance.

5.2 To be satisfied that a student will meet the provisions for entitlement to OS-HELP assistance at the commencement of a second six-month study period that is a continuation of a first six-month study period, the University will evaluate whether the student will meet provisions for entitlement to OS-HELP assistance as specified in section 118-1 of the Act. The evaluation will be on a date which is not more than six weeks before the commencement of the second six-month study period. A second OS-HELP loan cannot be approved where the second six-month study period overlaps with the first six-month study period.

6. An additional Asian language study loan is available where the University is satisfied that the language study is appropriate preparation for the overseas study in Asia. The language study must assist with skills and knowledge needed for students to successfully complete their overseas study. This additional Asian language study loan is not available independently of an OS-HELP loan and it is the applicant’s responsibility to furnish the University with all evidence required to support their eligibility.

The Asian language study cannot count towards your USC degree if you are in receipt of Commonwealth support or Fee-HELP assistance.

The Asian language study can be undertaken in Australia before you leave or in the Asian country in which you will receive OS-HELP. If the Asian language study is not undertaken at the overseas education provider through which the student has OS-HELP approved, evidence will be required that the student is undertaking the Asian language study.

7. Applicant's personal, academic or language study details in relation to the selection criteria will be confirmed with Student Services and Engagement prior to any offer being made and, in cases where legislatively required, prior to any payment being made.

8. The amount of OS-HELP assistance allocated will match the student's request within the guidelines, which state that loans will be allocated for no less than A$500 in increments of A$500 up to the maximum amount as advised by the Commonwealth Government annually, and are advertised on the application form.

9. Where the University receives more applications for OS-HELP assistance than there are loans, students will be ranked by their Grade Point Average and loans allocated in order of highest academic merit. Where there are insufficient funds to fully match the request of the last eligible applicant, the applicant will be offered the amount that is available.

10. Where an offer of OS-HELP assistance is either rejected or no response is received within 14 days, an offer may be issued to the next eligible applicant.

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Notification of outcome

11. The University will notify applicants for OS-HELP assistance of the outcome of the selection process in writing to the student's email address as recorded in USCCentral. Notification will be issued either within two months of receiving the application or within two months of the application closing date, whichever is later. An offer of OS-HELP assistance will remain current for a period of 14 days from the date of issue of the letter of offer.

12. With the offer, the University will advise the student in writing the amount of assistance to which they are entitled and the conditions of receiving OS-HELP assistance as detailed in the OS-HELP debt confirmation form.

Change in student's circumstances

13. If the University has offered OS-HELP assistance to a student, but has not yet paid the OS-HELP amount to the student, the University will withdraw the offer of OS-HELP assistance to a student if it determines that:

13.1 the student will not meet the provisions for entitlement to OS-HELP assistance as specified in section 118-1 of the Act at the commencement of the six-month study period, or

13.2 the student will not be undertaking their overseas study.

14. Where the University has paid a student their OS-HELP assistance and then determines that the student will not be undertaking their overseas study, the University will not take any action to reclaim the payment. In this situation the student will have already incurred an OS-HELP debt and can only repay this debt through the Australian Taxation Office.

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Provision of false or misleading information by a student

15. If the University knows or has reason to believe that a student in receipt of OS-HELP assistance has provided false or misleading information in their application for OS-HELP assistance, the University will immediately notify the Department of Education and Training of the suspected offence and provide the Department with a copy of the student's application and any other information requested by the Department.

Payment of OS-HELP assistance

16. The University will make Commonwealth funded loan payments directly to students after the University receives written acceptance of the loan offer including a completed OS-HELP debt confirmation form.

17. Payment of OS-HELP can only be made direct to students by electronic funds transfer (EFT). Notification of EFTs will be emailed to the student's USC email account in the form of a 'remittance advice'.

18. USC will not facilitate the payment of OS-HELP assistance awarded to a student by another University, where the student transfers to USC. The transferring student may apply for OS-HELP assistance at the next available opportunity and will be considered on the basis of the USC selection criteria and in relation to other USC applicants.

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Review of decisions

19. An applicant may request a review of a decision not to award them OS-HELP assistance. Such a request must be made in writing to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International and Quality), within 14 days of the date of the written advice that their application was unsuccessful.

19.1 A review of the decision will be conducted by the Director, Student Services and Engagement.

19.2 The Director, Student Services and Engagement, or nominee, will notify the applicant in writing of the outcome of the review within 14 days of the date the request for review of decision is received.

Appeal against non-award of OS-HELP assistance

20. An applicant may appeal against a decision made under 19.2 of these guidelines. The appeal must be in writing, state the grounds for appeal, include any relevant documentation and be lodged with  Student Services and Engagement within 7 days of the date of advice given under Clause 19.2.

20.1 The appeal will be conducted by an independent person or panel of independent persons nominated by the Director, Student Services and Engagement.

20.2 The decision of the appeal will be given in writing to the applicant by the Director, Student Services and Engagement within 7 days of the date the appeal against decision is received.

20.3 The decision made under 20.2 of these guidelines is final.

Definitions

USC: University of the Sunshine Coast
Guidelines: Guidelines for OS-HELP made under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (section 238-10 (1)).
Act: Higher Education Support Act 2003

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