A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is a place at a university or higher education provider where the government pays part of your fees. This part is a subsidy, not a loan, and you don't have to pay it back.

This subsidy does not cover the entire cost of your study. The remaining portion is called the 'student contribution amount', the payment of which YOU are liable for.

A CSP and 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 are not the same.

The student contribution amount must be paid by the census date. If you are not eligible for a HECS-HELP loan you will need to organise to pay this amount upfront.

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 in your course.

Just being eligible for a CSP does not mean that you will be offered one. You must meet the academic entry requirements set by your provider to get into the course.

For more information, view the relevant HELP publications.


Your provider will assess your eligibility for a CSP against the criteria below. If you have any questions, please contact your higher education provider.

To get a CSP, you must be one of the following:

  • be an Australian citizen, who will complete some of your course of study while resident in Australia; or
  • a New Zealand citizen; or an Australian permanent visa holder; or an eligible former permanent humanitarian visa holder; or a pacific engagement visa (PEV) holder who studies the entire course while living in Australia (note: a PEV holder becomes eligible from 1 February 2024)
  • have a Unique Student Identifier(Opens in a new tab/window) (USI) prior to the first census date (for new enrolments from 1 January 2021)
  • have sufficient Student Learning Entitlement available (for new enrolments from 1 January 2022)
  • meet the completion rate requirements (from 1 January 2022 - 31 December 2023)
  • not undertake more than 2 years' worth of higher education study within 12 months (unless your provider has approved you to take on more).

How can I get a CSP?

As well as the above residency and citizenship requirements, 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:
  • 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 by the census date.

What happens if I'm not in a CSP?

In some courses, there aren't any CSPs and other courses might have limited CSPs (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 where the government does not pay the subsidy and you pay the full amount for your fees.

Check if you can get a FEE-HELP loan to pay your full fee-paying fees, or look into whether you could get a CSP for your course at another provider.

You can search for a course name or study area on Course Seeker(Opens in a new tab/window) and then select and compare courses, including comparing if a CSP is available.