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Remission of Debt, Re-credit of SLE and Post Census Amendment of Enrolment Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose / Objectives

(1) This policy and procedure defines the framework for the administration of the remission of HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP debt, the re-credit of Student Learning Entitlement (SLE) and the remission of tuition fees to onshore students who have paid their fees upfront. It provides the framework to be used by eligible Higher Education students who wish to apply, after the relevant census date(s), for a remission of fees and re-credit of Student Learning Entitlement (SLE) usage due to exceptional circumstances beyond the student's control, in accordance with the provisions of Section 106L of the Higher Education Funding Act for units of study commenced on or after 1 January 1998, and the Higher Education Support Act (HESA) for units of study commenced on or after 1 January 2005.

(2) The policy also provides the framework to be used by VE/FE students who wish to apply for re-credit of fees after Census in accordance with the provisions contained within the Ministerial Directions to Councils of TAFE Institutes and Universities with TAFE Divisions.

(3) This policy and procedure also provides clear guidelines for the administration of Faculty requests for post census amendments to onshore enrolments required for administrative reasons.

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Section 2 - Scope / Application

(4) Nil

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Section 3 - Definitions

Administrative Error

(5) A University administrative error that makes it impracticable for the student to fulfil the Unit of Study requirements.

AAT

(6) Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Administrative Date

(7) The date, earlier than Census date, set by the Director, Student Connections in accordance with the HESA Legislation for payment of student contribution amounts or tuition fees.

ATO

(8) Australian Taxation Office

Census Dates

(9) The census date in a teaching period is the date by which students' enrolment records are finalised for reporting to government for that teaching period.

Student Type Census Date
Higher Education, including both domestic and international students Published Higher Education Semester/Teaching period Census Dates — no earlier than 20% of the way through the period of time during which the unit is undertaken [HESA - s169-25(2)]. The period of time during which the unit of study is undertaken includes any normal study breaks, assessment or examination periods (except supplementary examinations as these are not normally undertaken by all the students in the unit of study). Where the date for the final examination for a unit is not known, the last day of the examination period must be used as the end of the study period. If a unit does not include a final examination, an examination period must not be included.
Research Published Higher Education Semester/Teaching period Census Dates — no earlier than 20% of the way through the period of time during which the unit is undertaken [HESA - s169-25(2)]. The period of time during which the unit of study is undertaken includes any normal study breaks, assessment or examination periods (except supplementary examinations as these are not normally undertaken by all the students in the unit of study). Where the date for the final examination for a unit is not known, the last day of the examination period must be used as the end of the study period. If a unit does not include a final examination, an examination period must not be included.
VE/FE International No earlier than 20% of the way through the period of time during which the unit is undertaken The period of time during which the unit of study is undertaken includes any normal study breaks, assessment or examination periods (except supplementary examinations as these are not normally undertaken by all the students in the unit of study). Where the date for the final examination for a unit is not known, the last day of the examination period must be used as the end of the study period. If a unit does not include a final examination, an examination period must not be included.
VE/FE Full Fee Local and Government Funded - Skills Deepening (Diploma and above) No earlier than 20% of the way through the period of time during which the unit is undertaken The period of time during which the unit of study is undertaken includes any normal study breaks, assessment or examination periods (except supplementary examinations as these are not normally undertaken by all the students in the unit of study). Where the date for the final examination for a unit is not known, the last day of the examination period must be used as the end of the study period. If a unit does not include a final examination, an examination period must not be included.

Commonwealth Assisted

(10) Domestic students who are not Commonwealth supported (ie. 'fee paying' students) must be charged tuition fees [HESA s19 85] and may be eligible for FEE-HELP assistance for all or part of those tuition fees [HESA — Division 104].

(11) Fee paying students do not pay student contribution amounts, are not entitled to HECS HELP assistance [HESA s90 1], and do not use their Student Learning Entitlement [HESA — s76-1].

(12) Students who are enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place, and/or who are requesting assistance under a Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) [including HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, OS-HELP or VET FEE-Help], are determined under legislation as being 'Commonwealth assisted'.

Commonwealth Supported

(13) A student is considered under the HESA legislation to be 'Commonwealth supported' if they meet the citizenship requirements [HESA - s36-10(1)(c)] and are enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place.

(14) To meet the citizenship requirements a student must be:

  1. an Australian citizen; or
  2. a New Zealand citizen who will be resident in Australia for the duration of their unit of study; or
  3. the holder of a permanent visa who will be resident in Australia for the duration of their unit.

(15) A person may automatically be an Australian citizen by birth or adoption, or after applying for Australian citizenship by descent or conferral.

(16) In order to be Commonwealth Supported a student must enrol into the Unit of Study on or before the Census Date for the unit and must submit a request for Commonwealth Support and appropriate HELP form on or before the Census Date for the unit.

(17) Note: After the Census Date for a Teaching Period, Commonwealth Supported Higher Education students can, with Faculty approval, enrol into a unit of study, but cannot be Commonwealth Supported for that unit of study, and are subject to additional charges.

DEEWR

(18) Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations

Equivalent Full-Time Study Load (EFTSL)

(19) Equivalent Full-time Study Load is a measure of study load. One EFTSL is the study load, for a year, of a student undertaking a course of study on a full-time basis. It is used to calculate Student Learning Entitlement (SLE) and determine student contribution amounts and tuition fee and international student fee liability.

Exceptional Circumstances

(20) Circumstances that were beyond the control of a student and which did not make their full impact until on or after the census date of the unit(s) of study and which make

FEE-HELP

(21) Students offered a domestic full fee paying place are required to pay tuition fees. Eligible students may choose to pay their tuition fees through a FEE-HELP loan. The FEE-HELP loan amount at the census date is the difference between the tuition fee for the unit and the sum of any payment towards tuition fees that the student has made on or before the census date.

(22) If the FEE-HELP loan relates to units of study that form part of an TAFE course of study, the amount of the FEE-HELP debt is the amount of the loan plus 20% and is incurred by the student immediately after the census date for the unit.

(23) Students who withdraw from their unit or course of study on or before the census date will not incur a FEE-HELP debt. Under the Legislation it is the responsibility of students to ensure that their enrolments are complete and accurate before the applicable census date(s).

(24) Students who withdraw from a unit or course of study after the census date will incur a FEE-HELP debt for those studies, unless defined exceptional circumstances apply.

Full Fee Tuition

(25) Domestic Full fee VE/FE students are students who are undertaking full fee onshore courses, including:

  1. temporary Visa onshore students;
  2. international students.

(26) Full fee HE students are students who are undertaking full fee onshore courses, including:

  1. domestic student enrolled in a non-award course (other than enabling course);
  2. domestic student paying full award or enabling course tuition fees;
  3. domestic student paying for a full employer reserved place tuition fees;
  4. domestic student paying full Bridging Trained Professional (BOTP) tuition fees.

(27) Students offered a full fee paying place are required to pay tuition fees, Tuition fee payments must be made to the University by the payment due date indicated on the student invoice.

(28) After an Administrative Date for a Teaching Period, Higher Education students in Full Fee places can pay their tuition, but are subject to additional charges.

HECS-HELP

(29) Students offered a Commonwealth supported place are required to pay student contribution amounts. Eligible students may choose to defer payment of their student contribution amount through a HECS-HELP loan. The HECS-HELP loan amount as at the teaching period census date is the difference between the student contribution amount for the unit and any partial payment with discount the student has made on or before the census date.

(30) Students who withdraw from their unit or course of study on or before the census date will not incur a HECS-HELP debt. It is the responsibility of students to ensure that their enrolments are complete and accurate before the applicable census date(s).

(31) Students who withdraw from a unit or course of study after the census date will incur a HECS-HELP debt for those studies unless defined exceptional circumstances apply.

HESA

(32) The Higher Education Support Act (2003). The Act took effect from 1 January 2005.

International Students

(33) Students who hold a valid international student visa, and who are not Australian citizens, or holders of a permanent residency visa resident in Australia for the duration of their unit of study or New Zealand citizens resident in Australia for the duration of their unit of study.

OS-HELP

(34) Eligible Commonwealth Supported students undertaking units of study as part of their course of study overseas may apply for assistance to cover travel expenses. The amount of the OS-HELP debt is the amount of the loan plus 20% and is incurred by the student immediately after the census date for the unit. An OS-HELP debt is not permitted to be remitted under any circumstances in accordance with the HESA legislation.

Penalties

(35) Academic and/or financial penalties apply when amendments to a student's enrolment record are made after Census date, and post census approval or remission has not been granted.

Refund

(36) Higher Education students who withdraw from their studies after the Census Date and who have made an upfront payment towards their Student Contribution amount can apply in certain circumstances to have their payment refunded. Students cannot apply for refund if they have successfully completed the requirements of the Unit. Refunds are granted where exceptional circumstances apply as prescribed under the HESA Legislation.

(37) Refunds for other types of payments and student categories are addressed in the Refunds Policy (for domestic students) or the International Student Refund policy (for international students).

Re-credit of FEE HELP and SLE

(38) Higher Education students who withdraw from their studies after the Census Date can apply in certain circumstances to have their FEE-HELP/SLE re-credited. Students cannot apply for re-credit if they have successfully completed the requirements of the Unit. Re-credit will be granted where Exceptional circumstances apply as prescribed under the HESA Legislation.

Remission

(39) Higher Education students who withdraw from their studies after the Census Date can apply in certain circumstances to have their HECS-HELP debt remitted. If approved any upfront payment will be refunded. Students cannot apply for remission or refund if they have successfully completed the requirements of the Unit. Remission will be granted where Exceptional circumstances apply as prescribed under the HESA Legislation.

Remissions Actioning Officer

(40) The Remissions Actioning Officer is normally the Fees Co-ordinator who initially examines the application and the supporting documentary evidence, and who liaises with the student where the evidence is either not supplied or appears incomplete.

Review Officer

(41) The delegated University Officer who reviews, following application by the student, the initial remission/re-credit decision and advises the student of the outcome of their request for reconsideration of the decision.

Skills Victoria

(42) The Victorian Government body responsible for Vocational Education and Training.

Student Learning Entitlement (SLE)

(43) Student Learning Entitlement, measured in equivalent full time student load (EFTSL) gives a student access to a Commonwealth supported place.

VE/FE

(44) Vocational Education and Further Education

Work Experience in Industry (WEI)

(45) Work Experience in Industry refers to those units of study that consist wholly of work experience in industry. These comprise work;

  1. that is done as part of or in connection with a course of study, and
  2. in respect of which student learning and performance is not directed by the university, and
  3. the purpose of the unit is to obtain work experience relevant to the course of study, and
  4. that meets the requirements specified in Section 16.2 of DEEWR Administration Guidelines.

(46) Where the University does not provide support for WEI units the unit is exempt from student contribution amounts and tuition fees. If the University is providing support to students it may charge students a student contribution amount or tuition fee.

(47) Learning activities that use the workplace as a site for learning are generally referred to as LiWC (Learning in the Workplace and Community) units at Victoria University.

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Section 4 - Policy Statement

Scope

(48) The procedure associated with this policy is applied to students in Commonwealth Supported Places where study commenced on or after 1 January 2005 who wish to apply, after the relevant census date(s), for a re-credit of Student Learning Entitlement (SLE) and/or remission of fees. This does not include those students undertaking studies consisting wholly of WEI.

(49) It also applies to students seeking remission of HECS and/or PELS debts for units of study commenced on or after 1 January 1998, but before 1 January 2005.

(50) It also applies to domestic students in a Full Fee Tuition Place who wish to apply, after the relevant census date(s), for remission of fees, and to VE/FE students who wish to apply for re-credit of fees after Census date.

(51) The policy also applies to requests for post census amendments to onshore enrolments requested by Faculty staff for reasons of administrative error.

(52) Students who are aggrieved by an outcome arising of a consequence of the implementation of this policy are invited to seek redress through the provisions of the Student Complaints Resolution Policy .

Eligibility to apply for Remission and/or re-credit

(53) To be eligible for a remission and/or a: re-credit:

  1. a student must lodge an application in writing, within 12 months of the withdrawal date of the Unit of Study.
  2. where the student has failed unit(s) but did not formally withdraw from the unit(s), an application must be lodged, within 12 months of the last day of the semester in which they were enrolled in the unit(s).
  3. the student must not have completed the requirements for the unit of study. If the student passed the unit(s) in which they were enrolled they are not eligible for remission or re-credit.

Supporting Documentary Evidence

(54) The student's application must include independent, original or certified copies of supporting documentation, such as a letter from the student's doctor, to support the claim. The documentation must be signed and on printed letterhead. A letter from a doctor which does not identify the doctor's medical provider number will not be accepted. A document witnessed by a Justice of the Peace must have that person's full details for identification purposes with the Department of Justice, if necessary.

(55) Note: In accordance with the guidelines issued by DEEWR, letters from a family member or other students are not considered independent.

(56) Original or certified copies of supporting documentation must clearly state:

  1. that the student's circumstances were beyond their control;
  2. that the circumstances did not make their full impact on the student until on or after the census date for the unit;
  3. when it became apparent after the census date that the student could not continue with their study; or, if the circumstances existed prior to the census date, how the student's circumstances prevented him or her from withdrawing from study before the census date.

(57) Where the application is submitted for some but not all units of study in which the student is enrolled, then, in addition to the above, the supporting documentation must clearly state why the student is unable to study the units covered by the application but is able to study the units not covered by the application.

(58) The Remissions Actioning Officer will examine the application and the supporting documentary evidence, and will liaise with the student where the evidence is not supplied or appears incomplete. Any further information requested must be provided within 4 weeks from the date of contact by the Remissions Actioning Officer.

(59) Each application is assessed on its merits and in accordance with the DEEWR guidelines .

(60) Students who are enrolled in two courses or institutions at the same time (for example those who are engaged in cross-institutional study) must apply separately for each course or institution from which they are seeking remission.

Use and Disclosure of Personal Information

(61) Consistent with the University's Privacy Policy, the information on the Application for Post-Census Remission/Re-credit of Debt in Exceptional Circumstances (Domestic Students Only) form is collected for the primary purpose of assessing a student's application for remission of debt. Where a student chooses not to complete all the questions on the form it may not be possible for the application to be assessed.

(62) Remission/Re-credit of debt details will be disclosed to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) where appropriate. Privacy information is included on the application form.

Responsibilities of Staff

(63) Enrolment details must be finalised prior to the census date applicable to a particular unit of study. Where a student does not formally withdraw prior to the census date, the unit(s) will remain recorded on the student's academic record and the student will remain liable for fees (even if the student subsequently withdraws).

(64) It is the enrolling Faculty's responsibility to ensure that all relevant documentation referring to a student's enrolment has been forwarded in a timely manner, to the Admissions and Enrolments Section or to a Student Service Centre, as appropriate for action so that the information held on the student management system is accurate and current.

(65) It is the responsibility of the relevant Section(s) within the Student Connections Department to ensure that all relevant documentation referring to a student's enrolment that has been referred for action is processed in a timely manner so that the information held on the student system is accurate and current.

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Section 5 - Procedures

(66) See Remission of Debt, Re-credit of SLE and Post Census Amendment of Enrolment Procedures .

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Section 6 - Guidelines

(67) Nil