Funding amounts

Find out how much you can borrow and how the funds will be disbursed to you.

Your eligibility for US Financial Aid at La Trobe will be assessed based on the information you provide in your application documents. The US government specifies the maximum amount you can borrow under the Federal Education Loan Program each year.

Your COA is an estimate of your education expenses for the period of enrolment (to a maximum of 12 months). The components of your COA are the same for all US Federal programs, as specified by US law. Those components include:

  • Course fee: Based on your Letter of Offer.
  • Books: Due to the significant differences in textbook cost between courses in our law, health sciences and engineering disciplines and our other courses, book costs are categorised into two tiers:
    • law/health sciences/engineering - A$3,400 per annum
    • other courses (including business, arts, social sciences) - $2,000 per annum
  • Health insurance: Full Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) by Medibank for the visa length specified in your first-year COA, based on the current premium.
  • Course-related costs: Based on costs specified on Find a course.
  • Laptop: If you request a laptop inclusion on your COA, A$1,000 towards the cost of a laptop will be included for the first year only.
  • Total annual living expenses:
    • coursework degree – A$33,067.60
    • higher degree by research – A$45,250.40

Annual living expenses are calculated based on the following components:

  • transport: A$2,287.60 (38 weeks coursework) or A$3,130.40 (52 weeks higher degree by research (HDR))
  • food: A$10,640 (38 weeks coursework) or A$14,560 (52 weeks HDR)
  • average boarding cost: A$11,400 (38 weeks coursework) or A$15,600 (52 weeks HDR)
  • utilities: A$5,700 (38 weeks coursework) or A$7,800 (52 weeks HDR)
  • entertainment and personal expenses: A$3,040 (38 weeks coursework) or A$4,160 (52 weeks HDR).

Students from the United States who hold Australian or New Zealand permanent residency or citizenship have access to Australian benefits to support their education. If this applies to you, you’ll be advised of your COA individually.

When you apply for US Financial Aid, you must provide a Centrelink benefits statement and confirm whether you have applied for FEE-HELP, SA-HELP or any other benefits.

Your dependency status is determined based on the information you provide in your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It affects the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and types of aid that you may be eligible to receive.

For the purposes of federal student aid funds, also known as Title IV funds, you're considered independent if you meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • you are at least 24 years old by 31 December of the award year
  • you are an orphan or ward/dependent of the court or were a ward/dependant of the court until you turned 18
  • you are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • you are enrolled in a Master's or doctorate program at the beginning of the award year for which the FAFSA is completed
  • you are married at the date the FAFSA is completed
  • you have at least one child who receives more than half of his or her support from you
  • you have a dependant, other than a spouse or a child, who lives with you and receives more than half of his or her support from you at the time the FAFSA is completed and through to June 30 of the award year.

You’re considered dependent if you don't meet any of the preceding criteria for an independent student. This will only change if the Financial Aid Administrator determines that you’re independent on the basis of special circumstances and performs a dependency override.

Once we received your information, we'll prepare an award letter outlining the aid programs you're eligible for. You can use this award letter in your visa application to prove you have access to sufficient funds.

We recommend you use the figures in your award letter to help you create a budget and plan for your financial security during the academic year.

We strongly recommended that you have enough funds available to cover accommodation, books, supplies, and any other personal expenses for the first six to eight weeks of classes, just in case there’s a delay with your financial aid arriving from the US.

In accordance with direct loan regulation, we cannot disburse funds to you before classes begin. The disbursement date listed on your School Certification Form (as shown in your FAFSA account) refers to the date the funds are requested from the US Department of Education.

We'll only request the funds for you when your enrolment is confirmed on our Student Information System. If you’re applying as a first-year undergraduate first-time borrower, you shouldn’t expect to receive US Financial Aid funds until 30 days after classes commence. All other students should receive their funds soon after classes commencement.

The US Department of Education will send funds directly to La Trobe's bank account through an electronic funds transfer. You’ll receive an email when the funds are received and allocated to your tuition fees and the excess funds towards your living expenses are transferred to your nominated bank account.

You’ll need to sign a US Financial Aid Cheque Reconciliation Form to confirm your bank account details for the living expense fund transfer and confirm how the funds will be allocated on being received and converted. To request a copy of the form, please email us.

If you're doing a semester/trimester-based course or a doctoral program, funds will be disbursed on the first day of classes. This is to allow us to fulfil the academic monitoring requirements mandated by the US Department of Education before the next educational period begins.

If you’re beginning in Semester 2, you’ll have an option to apply for loans lasting either six or 12 months.

We encourage you to actively manage your loan funds. The US Department of Education's Student Federal Aid website provides useful resources to guide you on securing and repaying federal student loans. The guide provides information on consolidation, the difference between private and federal loans, and possible discharge and cancellation terms.

The difference between the amount of your COA and your awarded aid is what you are eligible to draw-down. You can take this either as a private loan (this amount will be advised in your award letter) or, if you are a graduate student, as a Grad PLUS loan.

The cost of attendance is calculated in Australian dollars (A$). Approximately two months before your course begins, we’ll convert the cost of attendance (COA) into US dollars (US$) to originate your loan. Exchange rate calculations can't be adjusted after this date unless they vary by more than 20 per cent.

There are two separate points when the exchange rate affects your loan:

  • when we convert your COA from A$ to US$ to determine how much you can borrow for your loan
  • when we receive loan funds from the US Department of Education in US$ and then convert them to A$.

There will be variations in the results of these conversions due to movement in the exchange rate.

We are unable to set the same exchange rate for both A$/US$ conversions. It’s your responsibility to understand and accept the risk associated with exchange rate variations.

Variations in exchange rates could mean you end up with more or less money than you need to cover your actual COA.

For example, let’s say you have a COA of A$53,680. We need to convert that to US$ to calculate how big your loan should be, and we convert it on a day when A$1 = US$1.05600. In this case, the COA converts to US$56,686.08, which is now the maximum amount you can borrow and is the amount that will be requested for the loan.

Later, when La Trobe receives the loan funds for the total amount requested (US$56 686.08), we’ll convert the funds to A$ based on that day’s exchange rate. If that rate is A$1 = US$1.03624, then the total available funds once converted will equal A$54,703.62.

This means the exchange rate variation between when the funds were requested and when funds were received has resulted in an additional A$1,023.62 being available to you.