Focus on studies. Not fees.
Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) are available across a range of courses
What is a CSP?
A Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) is a spot within a higher education course where the Australian Government pays a part of your university fees.
How Does it Work?
A CSP is a government subsidised place that’s available in a select range of university courses. Don’t pay the full cost of the course, you’ll only pay a reduced ‘student contribution’ fee as part of your deferred HECS-HELP loan or as an upfront payment.
CSPs are only available to eligible domestic students, with a limited amount of CSPs available per course. The total amount of your student contribution will be based on the course you’re studying.
How Do You Apply?
All undergraduate degrees at La Trobe University offer CSPs. See eligible courses below.
- Select a course from the list below
- Begin the application process
- Select ‘Apply for Commonwealth Supported Place’ on the course fees page and provide relevant documentation.
Am I eligible for a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP)?
All undergraduate degrees and select postgraduate degrees at La Trobe University offer CSPs.
A Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) is available for Australian citizens and eligible residents, such as New Zealand citizens and permanent humanitarian visa holders who meet the residency and study requirements. Any students who don’t qualify for a CSP Place can still enrol as a full-fee paying student.
To be eligible for a CSP eligible citizens and residents must be studying either most or all of their course in Australia, and meet all additional eligibility and residency requirements set out by the Australian Government.
When you apply and have been approved for a CSP in a course, you will be assessed against the eligibility criteria. Just being eligible for a CSP does not mean that you will be automatically offered a CSP place in your preferred course, you must still meet the academic entry requirements.
To maintain your eligibility for a CSP, you will be required meet completion rate requirements in the course you are studying.
For the latest eligibility requirements, visit HECS-HELP on the Study Assist website.
How do I apply for a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP)?
To apply for a CSP, follow the steps below:
1. Select a CSP Course from the list of courses above
2. Begin the Application Process
3. Select ‘Apply for Commonwealth Supported Place’ on the course fees page and provide relevant documentation
4. Follow the instructions to 'accept your offer' in your offer letter. The letter will tell you if the place you have been offered is a CSP or not.
5. Complete your CSP and HECS-HELP loan application form by the census date.
What if my course doesn’t offer Commonwealth Supported Places?
All undergraduate course at La Trobe offer CSPs*. However, undergraduate courses may have limited number of CSPs available, and certain postgraduate courses only offer full-fee paying places.
If your course doesn’t qualify for a CSP or if you haven’t been offered a CSP place in the course you wish to study, then a full-fee paying place may be available to you.
In a full fee-paying place, the government does not subsidise the cost of your education, so you will be required to pay the full amount. You may still be eligible for a FEE-HELP loan to defer your tuition fees through compulsory and voluntary repayments.
* with exceptions for certain courses offered via partnership arrangements, such as the Diploma of Elite Sport Business and Diploma of Sport Coaching and Development.
When do I start paying back my HECS-HELP loan?
The student contribution is usually deferred to the Australian Government as a loan. There are two ways to repay your HELP debt directly through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), through compulsory repayments or voluntary repayments.
For a compulsory payment, you’ll be expected to start repaying it through your tax once your income goes above a certain amount, this is called the ‘compulsory repayment threshold’.
Voluntary repayments are in addition to the compulsory payments where you can make extra repayments to lower your HECS-HELP debt.
For the latest information, visit the Loan Payment page on Study Assist.
How much will I be required to pay as part of my student contribution?
For compulsory payments, you’ll be expected to start repaying it through your tax once your income goes above a certain threshold. The compulsory repayment threshold for 2022-23 is $48,361 but there are some exceptions in place for low family incomes and serious financial hardship circumstances.
When you commence employment, you must notify your employer or declare it on your tax declaration forms that you have a HECS-HELP debt. The amount you will be required to pay will depend on your earnings.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will calculate your compulsory repayments based on your yearly income. Your repayment rate will vary from 1% to 10% of your total earnings.
For the latest breakdown for compulsory repayments, visit the Loan Payment page on Study Assist.
What’s the difference between a CSP and a HECS-HELP loan?
A Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) is a place within a higher education course where the Australian Government pays a contribution toward the cost of your education. The amount you're required to pay is known as the ‘Student Contribution’.
A HECS-HELP loan is used to pay the student contribution, with payments for the loan deferred through your tax payments once your income goes above the minimum threshold.
Eligibility for a CSP and HECS-HELP are not the same, so it’s important to ensure you meet the eligibility and obligation requirements for both.
What if I don’t qualify for a Commonwealth Supported Place?
If you or your course doesn’t qualify for a CSP, then you will be enrolled in a full-fee paying place where you will be required to cover the full amount of your university fees.
You may still be eligible for a FEE-HELP loan to defer your tuition fees through compulsory and voluntary payments. The HELP loan limit will depend on the course you study, and will vary from year to year.
For the latest information, visit the Loan Payment page on Study Assist.
How much will the government cover for my course?
The amount of student contribution you will need to pay depends on the discipline of the subjects you enrol in, and the number of credit points of each subject.
There are four different student contribution bands:
Band 1: Agriculture, English, mathematics, education, clinical psychology, Indigenous and foreign languages, nursing, statistics.
Band 2: Other health, allied health, built environment, computing, engineering, surveying, science, environmental studies, pathology, visual and performing arts, professional pathway psychology, professional pathway social work.
Band 3: Dentistry, medicine, veterinary science.
Band 4: Law, accounting, administration, economics, commerce, communications, society and culture.
For the latest breakdown of student contribution amounts, visit Student Contribution Amounts on Study Assist.
Does Commonwealth Supported Places cover additional fees for studying?
A HECS-HELP loan only covers your student contribution amount. It doesn’t cover any additional costs like accommodation, laptops, textbooks or fees such as student union or membership fees.
La Trobe University charges a Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) in order to help fund non-academic services and amenities for students. You may be eligible to defer your SSAF through SA- HELP.
If you're claiming Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY payments, you can apply for a Student Start-up Loan of up to $1,132 twice per year to help cover any additional costs for study.
Is there a limit to a HECS-HELP loan?
The combined HELP loan limit is $109,206 for most students in 2022–2023, however students studying certain approved degrees such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and aviation will be higher – and this may vary year to year.
If you have studied before, you can check your available HELP balance at www.myHELPbalance.gov.au.
For the latest information, visit Combined HELP loan limit on Study Assist.
How do I keep my CSP once I have one?
To maintain access to your Commonwealth Support (including your CSP and HELP loans), you must maintain engagement with your studies and not fall below the 'low completion rate threshold'.
A 'low completion rate threshold' is reached if you fail more than 50% of your subjects (after attempting eight subjects in a bachelor degree or four subjects in an enabling degree). If you reach the threshold, you will be required to pay full fees upfront.
La Trobe will take steps to make sure that you are actively engaging in your studies and that you have access to the support you need to achieve your best. If we believe you are at risk of not meeting the requirements, we will contact you to discuss your options and advise you of any steps you can take to improve your academic progress. If we are unable to confirm that you are actively participating in your studies, we may withdraw you from your subjects (you will be contacted by our team prior to this occurring).
Visit latrobe.edu.au/mylatrobe/job-ready-graduates-package for more information.