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Get the government to pay some of your fees with Commonwealth Supported Places

James Davis

Careers Commentator
Postgraduate students can get a lot of value out CSPs, but what exactly are they and how do you get one? We’ve got you covered.

What is a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP)?

These are placements in university courses granted to a limited number of students for which tuition fees are subsidised heavily! Unlike HECS-HELP loans, students do not have to pay these back at any point. All they have to do is put forward a contribution to the fee and the government covers the rest. The exact amount entailed by student contributions varies between universities. These contributions are made during the same time period as course fees are due, meaning you can expect to make them every semester. However, this is the case if you’re a university student anyway. At least with a CSP, you could be paying far less.

CSPs are unfortunately only available to domestic students. Any international students seeking funding can apply for some of the numerous scholarships available to them. You can browse our full selection right here on PostgradAustralia to gain further insight into these. A great example is our very own PostgradAustralia Scholarship, which does not discriminate between courses, study modes or nationalities. No matter who you are or where you’re from, you’re eligible to apply.

If you’re a domestic citizen, you likely enjoyed the benefits of a CSP throughout your undergraduate study. This is due to CSPs not having any limit for undergraduate domestic students. As a postgrad however, this isn’t necessarily the case. Many universities don’t even have CSPs for postgraduate students. Therefore, it’s imperative that you check whether or not your institution has any CSPs available.

If you’re a current postgraduate student in a fee-paying position, that is, you’re paying full price for your course, some institutions like James Cook University offer the opportunity to transfer to a CSP midway. Use the methodology in the following section to make this happen.

If you’re a permanent resident, it’s required that your visa lasts at least until the end of your degree, otherwise you’ll be denied a CSP. New Zealand citizens are entitled to study at Australian tertiary institutions without requiring a student visa.

How do I get a CSP?

  1. Check your eligibility.
    • Are you a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, or citizen of New Zealand?
    • Does your chosen institution offer CSPs?
    • Is your prior academic performance or extracurricular activities enough to distinguish you from the crowd? Having maintained something like a credit average throughout undergrad whilst having done an internship or two will go a long way to securing a place.
  2. Apply for your chosen degree at an Australian university. Remember to check if your course has any CSPs available, otherwise you’ll be put into a fee-paying position, which is full price. To check if your course has CSPs available, simply navigate to the ‘fees’ section of the course page or equivalent and make sure it specifies there are CSPs. If you’re still not sure, or they aren’t talked about on the page, don’t hesitate to contact the faculty using the contact information available on their site. This information should be available on all university pages.

Hopefully now you have a better grasp of what CSPs are, where to find them and how to get them. Remember, if you don’t secure one on the first time around, keep trying! You can transfer into one from a full fee paying position. Good luck!