Commonwealth supported student

The Commonwealth government offers assistance to eligible students to finance their tuition fees at university. You will be offered either a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) or a Fee-Paying place in your chosen course.

The electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form (eCAF) is required to be completed by eligible students wanting to:

  • accept a Commonwealth supported place (CSP); and/or
  • use HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, or SA-HELP for the payment of their tuition fee; or
  • have been approved for overseas study and wish to access an OS-HELP loan.

As a domestic student, you may be enrolled in either a full fee-paying place or in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) where the Government pays part of your fees.

The eCAF is a legal document in which you agree to:

  • the conditions of your Commonwealth supported place
  • repay your debt to the Commonwealth, if you choose to defer your fees to a HELP loan.

As a CSP student, you must submit a completed eCAF by the Census date of your first session of study.

If you’ve accepted a Commonwealth Supported place (CSP) in a course, you’ll automatically receive an email with details to complete your eCAF.

How to complete and submit your eCAF

Maintaining your eligibility for Commonwealth assistance

If you commence a course on or after 1 January 2022, you will need to meet the following criteria to maintain access to your Commonwealth support:

  • be assessed as academically suited to your studies – this means you must meet the entry requirements of your course, the prerequisites of your subjects and must enrol on-time each session as enrolling late will impact your chances of success in your subjects
  • be a genuine student – this means you are actively participating in your subjects by attending classes or placements, submitting assessments, accessing your online learning material, and meeting any other inherent requirements of your subject/s
  • limit your enrolment to 2.0 EFTSL (i.e. two years or less) worth of study per year
  • maintain a reasonable completion rate – this means passing more than 50% of your subjects each session after you have attempted 8 subjects (or 4 subject for an award lower than a Bachelors)

If you do not meet these requirements, you will be unable to continue to access Commonwealth assistance and will need to pay the full fees for your course.

Paying your student contribution

There are 3 ways of paying your Student Contribution:

  1. Make a full upfront payment to Charles Sturt University.
  2. Eligible students can pay part of their contribution upfront and take out a HECS-HELP loan for the remaining amount, with the remainder of your student contribution being deferred to be repaid through the taxation system.
  3. Eligible students can defer their full contribution and repay it through the taxation system.

Pre-census notice

Before the Census date of each session, you will be notified of your student contribution amount for each session of enrolment on the "pre-census HECS Notice". This notice is sent to you. This notice is not a request for payment.

This Notice records:

  • your enrolment for that session,
  • chosen HECS or FEE-HELP option,
  • the banding and cost of each subject

It will also include how to pay upfront, if that is the option you have chosen and how much will be deferred to the Australian Taxation Office if you have nominated to defer some or all of your student contribution. Go to Pre-census Notice for more information.

Census Date

Census Date is the date on which the university takes a snapshot of enrolments. Your enrolment as at Census will determine your HECS or Fee liability for that session.

The census date is the deadline for various requirements, including submitting your Request for Commonwealth assistance form for a HELP loan.

If you miss the census date, you will not be eligible to access a Commonwealth supported place or a HELP loan. The census date is also the deadline for withdrawing from your study without incurring the full cost of your units or a HELP debt.

Commonwealth Assistance Notice

After Census date each session you will also receive a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN).

A Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) is not an invoice. It is a notice issued each study period after the census date to students who are using Australian Government assistance.

For example, it is helpful for students to keep track of their FEE-HELP balance if they are studying in a fee-paying place. Go to CAN for more information.

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