Eligibility for Commonwealth Supported Places and HELP loans

If you are in a Commonwealth Supported Place or in an Australian Full-Fee place and accessing a HELP loan, there are Australian Government eligibility criteria that you must meet to maintain this support. There are also limits to how much Commonwealth Supported study you can undertake.

The Australian Government has passed legislation that will remove the 50 percent pass (completion rate) requirement. The change is effective from 1 January 2024. If you have been impacted by this change, you will receive an email about changes to your fee type and re-enrolment for 2024.

Last updated: Wednesday 22 November 2023

The Australian Government’s Study Assist website outlines the eligibility criteria for:

Requirements introduced from 1 January 2022

Legislative changes made by the Australian Government mean that:

  • Students studying in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) will be entitled to undertake seven years (7 EFTSL) of full-time study or part-time equivalent of Commonwealth Supported study at any Higher Education Institution. This is referred to as your Student Learning Entitlement (SLE) and is calculated from 1 January 2022.
  • There are some instances when additional SLE can be accessed once the seven years has been exceeded.
  • If you expend all available SLE, you will no longer be eligible for a CSP and may need to transfer to a Full-Fee paying place for the remainder of your study.

Refer below for more information.

Important: check your subject census dates in the Handbook

The subject’s census date is the last date you can withdraw from a subject without it being counted towards your SLE.

Withdrawing before the subject's last date to withdraw without fail is not considered an exception to the Australian Government's eligibility requirements. This means, if you withdraw after the subject's census date and before its Last date to withdraw without fail, while you will receive a WD (ie Withdrawn) grade on your academic record, it will still count towards your SLE unless you have approved special circumstances.

Student Learning Entitlement

The SLE requirement applies to all students in a CSP who are undertaking subjects with a census date from 1 January 2022 onwards (subjects undertaken before this date don't count towards the SLE). It limits the amount of Commonwealth Supported study at a Higher Education Institution that a student can undertake to seven years of full-time study (7 Equivalent Full Time Student Load or EFTSL). In some instances, you may be eligible for additional SLE.

  • How the SLE requirement works
    • From 1 January 2022, students studying in a CSP will start with a SLE balance of 7 ordinary EFTSL for their undergraduate and graduate coursework studies. There are separate Commonwealth support provisions for graduate research studies (eg Doctor of Philosophy, Master by Research).
    • Any subject (regardless of institution of study) with a census date from 1 January 2022 onwards that you are enrolled in past its census date will reduce your SLE balance. For example, if you're enrolled in four 12.5 point Semester 1, 2022 subjects after their census dates, your remaining SLE balance will be 6.5 EFTSL.
    • If you expend your initial allocation of 7 ordinary SLE, check if you are eligible for additional or lifelong SLE, see below.
    • If you expend all available SLE, you will no longer be eligible for a CSP and may need to transfer into a Full-Fee Paying Place for the remainder of your study, subject to meeting admission requirements, and the University's academic progress and maximum course duration requirements.
    • There may be some exceptions and instances when your SLE can be re-credited where special circumstances apply.
  • What if I need additional SLE?

    There are two forms of SLE that you may be eligible to access if you have exceeded your initial balance, Additional SLE’ and ‘Lifelong SLE’. These can help enable you to undertake Honours and graduate coursework courses for which CSP are available.

    Additional SLE

    Additional SLE is available to students:

    • Enrolled in long undergraduate courses (ie where the normal course load is more than 6 EFTSL, 6 years of full-time study).
    • Undertaking an Honours course that is 1 EFTSL or less.
    • Undertaking graduate coursework courses, or graduate entry bachelor courses, for which CSPs are offered.

    The amount of ‘Additional SLE’ generally depends on the normal course load, and if you have already started to use previously allocated Additional SLE. Additional SLE can be used once your initial 7 ordinary EFTSL entitlement has been used.

    Lifelong SLE

    • Lifelong SLE’ of 3 EFTSL (3 years of full-time study or part-time equivalent) is available to students who need to retrain later in life (time limits apply).
    • A separate Lifelong SLE allocation is available if completing a course will take longer as it’s been restructured.
    • Lifelong SLE can be used once your initial 7 ordinary EFTSL entitlement and any Additional SLE has been used.
  • Where can I find more information about the SLE requirement?

    For more information refer to the Australian Government’s:

If you are affected by special circumstances after your subject census date

If you withdrew from a subject after its census date, or failed a subject, and this was due to special circumstances, you can apply to have your SLE re-credited. Documentation supporting the special circumstances and their impact will be required.

Special circumstances are circumstances that:

  • Are beyond your control in that the circumstances were not due to your action or inaction, either direct or indirect, and for which you were not responsible, and
  • Do not make the full impact on you until on or after the subject’s census date, and
  • Make it impracticable for you to complete the subject.

Your circumstances must have impacted you to the extent that you were unable to complete the subject requirements and must have occurred or worsened on or after the census date.

All of the above criteria must be met in order for failed and withdrawn subjects to not count towards your SLE.

Examples of circumstances that may make it impractical for you to complete a subject include:

  • Medical reasons (eg your medical condition changed to such an extent that you were unable to continue studying).
  • Family/personal circumstances (eg death or severe medical problems within your family or unforeseen family financial difficulties).
  • Employment-related circumstances (eg your employment status or arrangements changed and you’re unable to continue your studies, and this change was beyond your control).
  • Course-related circumstances (eg the University changed arrangements to your subject or course, and it was impossible for you to undertake alternative subjects or courses).

How to advise the University of your special circumstances

  • If you withdrew or failed the subject due to special circumstances as defined above, apply for fee remission in special circumstances as soon as possible after withdrawing from the subject or receiving a fail grade.
  • If your fee remission in special circumstances application is approved, the fees for the approved subject/s will be remitted and the subject/s won’t count toward your SLE.

If your ability to undertake an assessment is affected by illness, bereavement or trauma, you may be eligible for special consideration.

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