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Credit Policy

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Policy provides a principled basis for the granting of credit towards Victoria University (VU) Awards and accredited courses and units on the basis of formal, informal and non-formal learning, through credit transfer, advanced standing, recognition of prior learning, and recognition of current competency.

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Section 2 - Accountability

Accountable / Responsible Officer

Role

Accountable Officer Vice-President, Learning & Teaching
Responsible Officer Director, Academic Quality and Standards

Key Decision-making powers under the Policy (if applicable)

(Delegated) Power

Role

To be developed with Procedures and presented under separate cover.  
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Section 3 - Scope

(2) This Policy applies to current and future domestic and international students of all VU Award and accredited courses, or accredited units within non-accredited courses, whether in Higher Education (HE) or Vocational Education and Training (VET).

(3) This Policy applies to credit granted on the basis of:

  1. applications from individual students;
  2. formal credit agreements within VU;
  3. formal credit agreements and pathways between VU and other tertiary institutions, whether within Australia or overseas; and
  4. formal agreements between VU and industry partners.

(4) This Policy covers:

  1. credit granted for prior or concurrent formal learning;
  2. credit granted for recognition of prior learning; and
  3. credit granted for recognition of current competency.
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Section 4 - Definitions

(5) Advanced Standing

(6) Block Credit

(7) Cognate

(8) Credit

(9) Credit Arrangements

(10) Credit Transfer

(11) Formal Learning

(12) Informal Learning

(13) Non-formal Learning

(14) Pathways

(15) Precedent: In the context of credit, precedent refers to credit determinations that have been made in the past for the same units or courses that an applicant is requesting credit for.

(16) Recognition of Current Competency

(17) Recognition of Prior Learning

(18) Specified Credit

(19) Unspecified Credit

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Section 5 - Policy Statement

Part A - General

(20) The objectives of this Policy are to:

  1. provide a basis for granting students with credit for learning already achieved;
  2. support the development and implementation of qualification pathways for students; 
  3. recognise that learning can be formal, non-formal or informal; and
  4. provide consistency in outcomes for applicants.

(21) The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015, the Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 and the Australian Qualifications Framework Pathways Policy apply to the assessment of credit at VU and form the basis of the rules below. In particular:

  1. pathways for credit will be available into and between qualifications;
  2. credit pathways may be horizontal across qualifications with outcomes at the same Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) level as well as vertical between qualifications with outcomes at different AQF levels;
  3. all pathways will be clearly publicised;
  4. credit is available for courses and competencies within courses; and
  5. decisions regarding applications for credit will be fair, transparent and evidence-based.

(22) Credit can facilitate student progress, completion and mobility. However, the integrity of VU Awards and accredited courses and units, and the success of its students, are the primary considerations. Credit will not be granted if it would: 

  1. impair the integrity of the Award or accredited course;
  2. reduce a student’s likelihood of success in the program; or
  3. impact on entry into regulated professions.

Part B - Eligibility for Credit

(23) A student is eligible for credit for learning that:

  1. is relevant;
  2. is equivalent to current knowledge and/or practices (for HE courses, the learning must have been completed within 5 years of the application for credit, and a shorter period may be specified if required for professional accreditation reasons); and
  3. satisfies the current learning or competency outcomes of the course.

(24) Credit is available towards a VU Award or accredited course regardless of the location at which the course is taught.

(25) Credit may be available for formal, informal or non-formal learning undertaken in any language and any mode, including online learning. In the case of formal learning undertaken outside Australia, the award must be deemed by AEI-NOOSR to be equivalent in level to an AQF qualification for which credit would be available, as advised by Victoria University International (VUI). 

(26) Where the learning has been undertaken in a language other than English, applicants' English language proficiency must be demonstrated at the level required for the stage at which they will enter the VU course (e.g. if, with the credit granted, they will enter the course at third-year level, they must demonstrate the necessary language proficiency for third year studies in the course).

(27) Learning will be measured against the learning or competency outcomes of the courses for which the student has applied for credit.

(28) To be eligible for credit, a student must have successfully completed the relevant course or unit. Provided that the student has passed, however, credit is not dependent on grades achieved in the formal study which forms the basis of the student’s application.

(29) Credit will not be given on the basis of:

  1. a failed course or unit;
  2. a conceded pass or equivalent (however, credit is available for a supplementary pass); or
  3. credit awarded towards a previous course on the basis of credit transfer.

(30) VU reserves the right to review and verify the credit determinations made by other providers, where these are relied upon by an applicant.

Part C - Limitations on Credit

(31) Maximum limitations apply to the application of credit to HE courses.

  1. For a Bachelor's degree, a student must complete at least 96 credit points of the course at VU.
  2. At least 50 per cent of the credit points required to gain an Honours award must be achieved through formal study at the University.
  3. For postgraduate coursework awards, a student must complete at least 50% of the course at VU.
  4. Credit is offered for final year units in undergraduate degrees only where these do not form a core requirement of the degree.
  5. Credit is not available for capstone units or thesis components of any course.

(32) Credit is not available for enabling or bridging courses. 

(33) The relevant Dean may reduce the allowable maximum credit for any course to fulfil professional accreditation requirements.

(34) There is no limit on credit available for VET courses.

Part D - Credit and Pathways Agreements

(35) The University may enter into pathway agreements and credit agreements: 

  1. internally, between different Colleges or between Colleges and Victoria University Polytechnic;
  2. with other tertiary institutions; and 
  3. with industry partners.

(36) These agreements may include a commitment to provide students with guaranteed entry into and/or credit towards a course. 

(37) A credit agreement may be made within VU, involving courses across AQF levels. Such agreements are only valid if approved by the relevant College Directors of Learning and Teaching or, if the agreement involves entry into VET courses, the Director, Quality, Learning and Support, Victoria University Polytechnic.

(38) A credit agreement must include terms establishing the following aspects of the agreement:

  1. the programs and courses between which credit is available;
  2. definitions of student eligibility for credit; and
  3. the amount of credit and the nature of credit available under the agreement.

(39) A pathway / credit agreement may be made between VU and another Australian tertiary institution that issues AQF qualifications. Such agreements are only valid if approved by the Provost.

(40) If the agreement involves entry into VET courses, the endorsement of the Vice-President: Vocational Education must be obtained.

(41) A pathway / credit agreement may be made between VU and an overseas tertiary institution that is deemed by AEI-NOOSR to offer the qualification for which VU will offer credit at a level equivalent to the corresponding AQF level qualification. Such agreements are only valid if approved by the Provost and the Vice-President, Engagement, Marketing and International.

(42) If the agreement involves entry into VET courses, the endorsement of the Vice-President: Vocational Education, must be obtained.

(43) When negotiating credit agreements with other organisations, the University will consider whether the following aspects of programs involved in the credit agreement are comparable and equivalent:

  1. the learning outcomes of the qualification;
  2. the volume of learning;
  3. the AQF or equivalent level;
  4. the program of study and the content of the program; and
  5. learning and assessment approaches.

(44) Eligibility for credit towards a course on the basis of an agreement does not guarantee entry into the course, unless that is a stated term of the agreement (ie guaranteed pathways).

(45) Students entering a VU course on the basis of a credit agreement may be required to complete prerequisite courses where their enrolment in the previous program has not included content equivalent to these prerequisite courses.

(46) The process for developing pathway / credit agreements is established in the Credit - Pathways Procedure.

(47) All pathway / credit agreements are contracts, and must be managed, filed and maintained in accordance with the University's Contracts Policy, Contracts Procedure and Records Management Policy.

Part E - Individual Applications for Credit – HE Courses

Applications for credit based on past formal learning

(48) An applicant or student may apply for credit on an individual basis, outside of a credit or pathway agreement.

(49) Applications for credit must be:

  1. timely;
  2. appropriately evidenced; and
  3. Related to prior learning in the same or a cognate discipline.

(50) When assessing applications for credit, VU will apply past precedents where available to ensure consistency of outcome.

(51) Individual credit applications will be considered in the light of the following elements of the past study:

  1. the learning outcomes of the qualification;
  2. the volume of learning;
  3. the AQF level;
  4. the program of study and the content of the program; and
  5. learning and assessment approaches.

(52) The process for applying for and assessing individual credit applications is established in the Credit - Advanced Standing Procedure (HE).

Applications for credit based on past informal or non-formal learning

(53) Informal and non-formal learning may be used to claim Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) or Recognition of Current Competency (RCC), and convert this into credit in some HE courses.

(54) No RPL or RCC is available for research courses at VU.

(55) Where credit for informal or non-formal learning is sought for entry into a HE course, assessment of learning is conducted by the relevant Course Chair or equivalent. This process is outlined in the Credit - Advanced Standing Procedure (HE), Part F.

Part F - Individual Applications for Credit – VET Courses

(56) An applicant or student may apply for credit on an individual basis, outside of a credit or pathway agreement.

(57) Applications for credit for VET courses will be assessed in accordance with the VET Skills Recognition Procedure.

Part G - Assessing Credit Applications

(58) Decisions regarding applications for credit will be:

  1. timely;
  2. evidence-based and transparent;
  3. fair and consistent;
  4. academically defensible;
and will take into account the student’s ability to successfully meet the learning outcomes of the Award.

(59) Credit will only be granted if it will not impinge upon:

  1. the integrity of the Award or accredited course or unit, and requirements of the relevant discipline; or
  2. any conditions associated with the professional accreditation of the qualification.

Part H - Professional Accreditation

(60) The granting of course credit is subject to the conditions of professional accreditation bodies, where these exist. For professionally accredited courses (e.g. Law, Nursing) credit can only be given for formal learning that is considered to be equivalent in a course at another accredited institution.

(61) Where required for professional accreditation reasons, the currency rule specified in clause 23 (b) may be tightened to shorten the period of time within which past learning will be accepted. Courses must specify the currency period in their advisory material to prospective students.

Part I - Reversal of Credit

(62) Credit may be reversed where:

  1. the student requests a reversal (e.g. if they have been admitted on a pathway arrangement, but prefer to still study certain units at VU); or
  2. there has been an administrative error which has led to credit being improperly granted; or
  3. there is evidence of fraud relating to the credit application on behalf of the applicant.

(63) Credit reversal determinations are made by the authorities established in the Delegations section of this Policy.

(64) Credit reversals may only occur prior to, or during, the period of a student's enrolment at VU. If it is discovered after the student has graduated that credit was improperly granted or there has been fraud, the matter must be handled under the Revocation of Awards provisions in the Awards Regulations 2017.

(65) Students must be informed in writing of:

  1. the decision to reverse the credit;
  2. the reasons for the decision;
  3. the implications of the decision for their progress in their course;
  4. their right to access advice from the University;
  5. any other action which the University will take as a result of the decision (e.g. a referral to the Student Misconduct process for a fraud matter); and
  6. their right to request a review of the decision by the Dean of the relevant College.

(66) If a student disputes the reversal of credit decision, the Dean of the relevant College must review the decision and provide a final determination on the matter.

Part J - Review and Appeal

(67) Applicants who are dissatisfied with the outcome of their application for credit may request a review of the decision on the grounds that:

  1. the applicant demonstrably met all relevant requirements for the granting of credit; and
  2. the application was lodged completely, including providing all requested additional or supporting information, on time and in the correct manner; and
  3. the Credit Policy and/or related procedures were not correctly applied.

(68) A request to review the decision must be lodged in writing, addressed to the Academic Registrar, within 10 University business days of the communication of the credit decision.

(69) The Vice-President, (Planning) and Registrar will arrange for a review of the selection decision by the relevant authority indicated in the Delegations section of this Policy.

(70) A written outcome will be provided within 10 University business days of the date received by the University.

(71) Where the outcome is in favour of the applicant, and a new offer with credit is subsequently made, the applicant will be required to meet all relevant enrolment criteria in order to enrol.

(72) Where a new offer is made too late for the applicant to reasonably enrol and commence study, with a view to their ability to succeed in the course, a deferment will be applied on the applicant's behalf.

(73) A request to review the decision may be dismissed where the applicant cannot substantiate their request in line with clause (67).

(74) If the review is unsuccessful, the applicant may then appeal the decision only if relevant grounds are met, via the University's Student Appeals process as detailed in the Student Appeals Regulations 2014 and Student Appeals Procedure. The grounds for appeal are specified in those instruments.

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Section 6 - Procedures

(75) Credit - Advanced Standing Procedure (HE) 

(76) Credit - Pathways Procedure 

(77) VET Skills Recognition Procedure

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Section 7 - Guidelines

(78) Nil