Policy Document Fee-Help and Its Administration at ACPE

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1 Policy Document Fee-Help and Its Administration at ACPE Contents 1. Preamble Nature of the FEE-HELP Scheme FEE-HELP Entitled students FEE-HELP Eligible Units of Study General Information on FEE-HELP and its Administration at ACPE Tax File Number requirements Application to have a Unit with a FEE-HELP Balance Re-Credited Criteria for the Decision to Re-credit a Unit with a FEE-HELP Balance ACPE s Review of the Decision to Re-credit a Unit with a FEE-HELP Balance Reconsideration by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)... 9 Fee Help and its Administration at ACPE V4.0 Page 1 of 10

2 1 Preamble 1.1 As an accredited higher education provider, ACPE is able to offer students access to Australian Government funded FEE-HELP scheme in order that they may undertake approved courses and enabling units of study. 2 Nature of the FEE-HELP Scheme 2.1 FEE-HELP is an Australian Government loan scheme that is designed to assist eligible students to pay their tuition fees for units of study that lead to an accredited higher education award. FEE-HELP assistance can cover all or part of the eligible student s tuition fees, up to the lifetime limit that is set by the Australian Government and indexed annually in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act (2003) [HESA Part 5-6]. 2.2 For undergraduate units the Australian Government applies a loan fee to FEE-HELP loans for undergraduate courses of study. From 1 January 2011, the FEE-HELP loan fee is 25 per cent. FEE-HELP loan fees do not count towards the FEE-HELP lifetime limit. 2.3 Postgraduate units do not incur a FEE-HELP loan fee. 2.4 The Australian Government does not apply an interest charge on FEE-HELP debts. However, a student s FEE-HELP debt is indexed annually by the Australian Tax Office. Any indexed amount does not count towards the FEE-HELP lifetime limit. 2.5 A student accessing the Australian Government s FEE-HELP Assistance scheme to help cover the payment of their tuition fees will incur a FEE-HELP debt with the Australian Government. 2.6 Students commence the repayment of their FEE-HELP debt to the Australian Government once their income reaches the minimum payment threshold for compulsory repayment. A student s compulsory repayment rate will increase as his or her income increases. The Australian Government adjusts the repayment thresholds each year to reflect any changes in average weekly earnings. 3 FEE-HELP Entitled students 3.1 A student is entitled to FEE-HELP for a unit that is being undertaken at ACPE if the student a) meets the FEE-HELP Assistance Scheme citizenship or residency requirements, these being: an Australian citizen; or the holder of a permanent humanitarian visa who will be resident in Australia for the duration of the unit; or Fee Help and its Administration at ACPE V4.0 Page 2 of 10

3 the holder of a permanent visa who is undertaking bridging study for overseas-trained professionals and will be resident in Australia for the duration; b) is enrolled in an eligible unit on or before the census date1 for the unit and remains enrolled in the unit immediately after census date; c) has completed, signed and submitted a valid Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form; d) has supplied to ACPE, on or before the census date, a TFN or a Certificate issued by the Australian Tax Office stating that he or she has applied for a TFN; e) has not exceeded the FEE-HELP lifetime limit on or before the census date. 3.2 A student who has a FEE-HELP Loan balance is able to obtain information from Australian Government s Higher Education Information Management System (HEIMS) on the amount of his or her FEE-HELP balance. A student can access HEIMS via the Government s Study Assist web site at 4 FEE-HELP Eligible Units of Study 4.1 The following units of study at ACPE are eligible for FEE-HELP: a) All units in the College s undergraduate course programs that lead to an Associate Degree, Bachelor award, or Bachelor (Honours) award conferred by ACPE; b) All units in the College s postgraduate programs that lead to a Graduate Diploma, Masters and Masters by Research award conferred by ACPE; c) All units of study offered in ACPE s accredited undergraduate and postgraduate programs that will lead the student to the completion of their enrolled higher education award with another accredited higher education provider, including the awards of associate degree, bachelor, graduate certificate, graduate diploma, masters, masters by research and doctorate; d) All units of study offered in ACPE s accredited undergraduate and postgraduate programs that will contribute to the student s completion of any bridging courses for overseas trained professionals to enable them to meet the requirements for entry into their profession in Australia; e) All units of study offered in ACPE s accredited undergraduate and postgraduate programs that allow students to meet the requirements for entry into an award program; f) All units of study offered in ACPE s accredited undergraduate and postgraduate programs that will lead the student to an accredited vocational education and training (VET) diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate and graduate diploma with an VET provider if the VET award has approved credit transfer arrangements to a Bachelor degree with a higher education provider. 1 ACPE determines the census date for each unit offered in the semester. Normally, the same census date is applied to all units offered in the same semester. The census date for each unit is stated in the College s Schedule of Tuition Fees for the relevant half-year academic period. This schedule is published on the College s web-site. Fee Help and its Administration at ACPE V4.0 Page 3 of 10

4 5 General Information on FEE-HELP and its Administration at ACPE Obtaining Fee-Help Assistance: 5.1 A student who is eligible for FEE-HELP assistance indicates at the time of enrolment in a unit whether he or she elects to pay the tuition fee for the unit: as a full up-front payment; or as a partial up-front payment and obtain a FEE-HELP loan for the remainder; or by obtaining a FEE-HELP loan for the full amount. 5.2 To obtain a FEE-HELP loan for a portion or the full amount of tuition fees a FEE-HELP eligible student must have lodged a signed Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form [available from ACPE] by the administrative date set by ACPE. The administrative date set by ACPE is normally the earliest census date of the unit in which the student is first seeking a FEE-HELP loan for the enrolled units. 5.3 As part of the request for FEE-HELP assistance application a student is required to provide the College with his or her Tax File Number (TFN) so that FEE-HELP debts can be properly notified to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). 5.4 By signing the Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form a student is declaring that they have read the FEE-HELP Information booklet and are aware of their obligations under the programme. 5.5 A student may not authorise another person (by power of attorney or otherwise) to sign a Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form on their behalf. 5.6 Copies or facsimiles of the Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form are not acceptable. 5.7 A student who has prior obtained a FEE-HELP Loan toward his or her unit enrolments in their ACPE course does not need to re-apply for FEE-HELP assistance to obtain a FEE-HELP Loan for future unit enrolments in their course. 5.8 A new Request for FEE-HELP Assistance form must be completed by a student who is eligible for FEE-HELP assistance when they are enrolling or transferring into a new course of study with the College or a different institution and seeking Fee-Help Assistance for their units enrolments in that course. 5.9 A student who is in receipt of a FEE-HELP Assistance must promptly notify the College s Registry Office in writing if their Citizenship status or TFN changes. Determination of a FEE-HELP debt and Notification that a FEE-HELP debt has been incurred 5.10 A student s entitlement to FEE-HELP assistance for an enrolled unit is determined immediately after the census date. At this time the student s FEE-HELP loan amount Fee Help and its Administration at ACPE V4.0 Page 4 of 10

5 and FEE-HELP loan fee is applied and the student incurs the FEE-HELP loan debt with the Australian Government Each semester the College will issue a Commonwealth Assistance Notice to each student in receipt of a FEE-HELP loan for any unit in which he or she is enrolled The Commonwealth Assistance Notice will be issued within 28 days of the earliest census date indicated in the notice The information contained in the Commonwealth Assistance Notice will be in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act 2003 Administration Guidelines [2.5], and include, among other information, details on the total amount of up-front payment; the total amount of FEE-HELP assistance; the total amount of the FEE-HELP loan fee; and the total amount of FEE-HELP debt for any unit enrolment in the semester for which the student s tuition fee is being discharged by a FEE-HELP loan A student who considers that the information contained in the Commonwealth Assistance Notice is not, or has ceased to be, correct may request a correction of the Notice in writing to the Registry Office, within 14 days after the day the notice was given. The College has the discretion to waive this requirement if the College is satisfied the request for a correction could not be made within the time limit A student who withdraws from a unit by the census date set for the unit is not financially liable for the unit and will not incur any FEE-HELP debt for the withdrawn unit A student who withdraws from a unit after the census date is legally financially liable for the tuition fee of the unit. The upfront and FEE-HELP assistance debt, including any FEE-HELP Loan fees, applied to the withdrawn unit shall be the same as those that had been applied to that unit prior to its withdrawal. Unit withdrawals after the census date will also result in fail grade for the unit A FEE-HELP debt cannot be transferred or deferred to another unit A student may apply after the census date to have a unit with a FEE-HELP balance re-credited and associated grade penalties reversed if the student has been unable to complete the requirements of the unit and the student believes that this was due to a) special circumstances [see Item 7 and Item8]; or b) a dispute with respect to academic matters [refer to ACPE s Academic Appeals Policy and Procedures]; or c) a dispute with respect to administrative matters [refer to ACPE s Policy on Grievances concerning non academic matters raised by students or persons seeking to enrol in the College]. Fee Help and its Administration at ACPE V4.0 Page 5 of 10

6 6 Tax File Number requirements 6.1 The Tax File Number (TFN) requirements for FEE-HELP assistance will be met when: a) the student notifies his or her TFN to the College Registry Office and the College is satisfied that the number is a valid TFN on or before the census date; or b) the student gives to the College Registry Office a certificate from the Commissioner of Taxation stating that the student has applied to the Commissioner to be issued a TFN, on or before the census date. 6.2 Where a student does not have a TFN at the time of enrolment in a unit and is requesting FEE-HELP Assistance for that unit the student must: a) make an application for a TFN to the ATO within 28 calendar days before the unit census date and at the time of application request the ATO to supply him/her a certificate from the Commissioner of Taxation of his or her application for a TFN as proof of his or her application; and b) provide the ATO certificate of application for a TFN to the ACPE Registry Office on or before the unit census date; and c) provide his or her TFN to the ACPE Registry Office promptly following receipt of advice from the Tax Office of his or her TFN. A student who does not meet the Tax File Number requirements on or before the census date is not entitled to FEE HELP for enrolled units and must pay the tuition fees upfront to the College. 7 Application to have a Unit with a FEE-HELP Balance Re-Credited 7.1 A student may apply to the College after the census date to have a unit with a FEE- HELP balance re-credited if the student has been unable to complete the requirements of the unit due to special circumstances. 7.2 An application to have a unit with a FEE-HELP balance re-credited must be lodged in writing to the College within 12 months of the date of withdrawal from the unit, or if the student has not withdrawn from the unit, within 12 months of the last day of the semester in which the unit was undertaken. The College has the discretion to waive this requirement if the College is satisfied that the application could not be made within the time limit. 7.3 The College recommends and prefers that an application be lodged on the College s Request for Unit Tuition Fee Re-Crediting and Grade Penalty Reversal Form with accompanying supporting evidence attached to the form. However, applications lodged in writing with accompanying supporting evidence attached will be accepted. 7.4 The student s claims, together with independent supporting documentary evidence that is contended to substantiate the claims, must be submitted with the application. 7.5 The College will acknowledge receipt of the application, normally within 2 weeks of receipt. Fee Help and its Administration at ACPE V4.0 Page 6 of 10

7 7.6 The College s Financial Manager will examine the application as soon as practical, normally within 4 weeks of receipt. 7.7 Each application will be examined with procedural Fairness 2 and determined on its merits. 7.8 In examining the application the Financial Manager has the discretion to consult with relevant academic and administrative staff of the College. 7.9 The Financial Manager s decision will be based on the Criteria specified at Item 8, below. 8 Criteria for the Decision to Re-credit a Unit with a FEE-HELP Balance 8.1 A student s unit with a FEE-HELP balance will be re-credited if the Financial Manager is satisfied that the student was unable to complete the requirements of the unit due to special circumstances that: a) were beyond the student s control; and b) did not make their full impact on the student until on, or after, the census date; and c) made it impracticable for the student to complete the requirements for the unit during the period in which the student undertook, or was to undertake, the unit. 8.2 The applicant will be informed in writing of the Financial Manager s decision, normally within 6 weeks of application receipt. 8.3 Where a request to re-credit a student s unit with a FEE-HELP balance has been granted this written communication will include information that states at a minimum the following: a) that, on behalf of the student, the College will advise the DEEWR/DIISRTE of the re-crediting of the unit FEE-HELP balance as a result of special circumstances. This information will be provided to DEEWR/DIISRTE in the College s student submission reporting round that next follows the date of the decision 3. This reporting action will re-credit the student s Fee-Help balance in Higher Education Information Management System (HEIMS) and subsequently report the student s adjusted Fee-Help balance to the ATO; and, if applicable b) that any upfront balance for the re-credited unit will be remitted and any associated payments prior made to the College refunded. 8.4 Where a request to re-credit a student s unit with a FEE-HELP balance has not been granted this written communication will include information that states as a minimum the following: 2 Refer to annexure of ACPE s Policy on Grievances Concerning Non-Academic Matters. 3 DEEWR/DIISRTE student submission reporting rounds normally occur on 31 March, 31 May, 31 August and 31 October. Fee Help and its Administration at ACPE V4.0 Page 7 of 10

8 a) That the College has made the decision not to re-credit the tuition fees because it is not satisfied that a particular component or components of clause 8.1, prevented the student from completing the requirements of the unit; b) That if the student is unsatisfied with the outcome that he or she has the right to apply in writing to the College for a reconsideration of a decision to not re-credit the tuition fees for a unit; c) that the time limit for applying for a reconsideration of a decision is 28 days from the day the student received notice of the decision; d) that the College has the discretion to waive this requirement if the College is satisfied that the application could not be made within the time limit; e) that in the application in writing to the College for a reconsideration of a decision the student must state the reasons why he or she is applying for a review; f) that the College will acknowledge in writing the College s receipt of the request for review, normally within 10 days of application receipt. This acknowledgement will include information on the approximate cost of an appeal to the AAT as published on the AAT web site at at the time of issuing the written acknowledgement; g) that if the student applies in writing to the College for a reconsideration of a decision to not re-credit or remit a unit with a FEE-HELP balance and the College has not advised the applicant of a decision within 45 days of the College s receiving of the application for review, the reviewer is taken to have confirmed the original decision [HESA s (6)]; h) that if the College can be taken to have confirmed the original decision the applicant has the right to apply in writing to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of the reviewable decision that has been confirmed, varied or set aside under the Higher Education Services Act (HESA 2003) s209-5 or ; i) the contact details of the closest Administrative appeals registry and information on the approximate cost of an appeal to the AAT as published on the AAT web site at at that time; j) that applications to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of the reviewable decision must generally be made within 28 days from the earliest date that the applicant can take the original decision has been confirmed. 9 ACPE s Review of the Decision to Re-credit a Unit with a FEE-HELP Balance 9.1 An applicant s requested review of the decision to re-credit a unit with a FEE-HELP balance will be undertaken by the Head of College. 9.2 Each application will be examined by the Reviewer with procedural Fairness 4 and determined on its merits. 9.3 The applicant will be informed in writing of the Reviewer s decision within 45 days of the College s receiving of the application for review. 4 Refer to annexure of ACPE s Policy on Grievances Concerning Non-Academic Matters. Fee Help and its Administration at ACPE V4.0 Page 8 of 10

9 9.4 This written communication will include information that states as a minimum the following: a) That the reviewer has decided to either: i. confirm the original decision; or ii. vary the original decision, stating the details of the variance; or iii. set the decision aside and substitute a new decision, stating the new decision; and iv. the reasons for making the decision. b) that the applicant has the right to apply in writing to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of the reviewable decision that has been confirmed, varied or set aside under the Higher Education Services Act (HESA 2003) s209-5 or ; c) the contact details of the closest Administrative appeals registry and the approximate costs of lodging an appeal with AAT as published at the time of the written communication on the AAT web site at d) that applications to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a review of the reviewable decision must generally be made within 28 days from the earliest date that the applicant can take the original decision has been confirmed. 10 Reconsideration by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) 10.1 A student may make an application to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for a reconsideration of the College s decision to refuse to re-credit or remit a unit with a FEE-HELP balance The student may supply additional information to the AAT which he or she did not previously supply to the College (including the College s reviewer) The Secretary of DEEWR/DIISRTE, or his or her delegate, will be the respondent for cases which are before the AAT Once DEEWR/DIISRTE has received notification from the AAT that the student has applied for the reconsideration, under section 37 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (AAT Act), the Secretary must lodge the following documents with the AAT within 28 days: a) a statement setting out the findings on material questions of fact, referring to the evidence or other material on which those findings were based and giving the reasons for the decision; and b) every other document or part of a document that is in the reviewer s possession or under the reviewer s control and is considered by the reviewer to be relevant to the review of the decision by the Tribunal Upon receipt of notifications from the AAT, DEEWR/DIISRTE will notify the College in writing that appeals have been lodged. To enable DEEWR/DIISRTE to meet the 28-day Fee Help and its Administration at ACPE V4.0 Page 9 of 10

10 timeframe, the College MUST, within a further 5 business days, provide DEEWR/DIISRTE with copies of all the documents its holds that are relevant to the appeal. These documents should be sent to DEEWR/DIISRTE by courier or Express Post. ACPE will retain the original records and copies of the documents in accordance with the College s normal record keeping practices Under section 209-5(2)(b) of HESA, the College may still reconsider matters that are before the AAT (i.e. at any time up until the AAT makes a final decision) and must advise DEEWR/DIISRTE if a decision is made to re-credit or remit. However, until a student withdraws his or her AAT appeal, or the appeal is dismissed or otherwise dealt with by the AAT, DEEWR/DIISRTE is still required to comply with the requirements under section 37 of the AAT Act to lodge the statement, and relevant documents with the AAT. Therefore, the College must still forward all relevant documents described at 10.4 above to DEEWR/DIISRTE within the 5 business day timeframe noted at 10.5 above, unless advised not to do so by DEEWR/DIISRTE. DEEWR/DIISRTE will deal with cases from that point and advise the ACPE of the outcome. POLICY NUMBER ADMIN/104: Fee Help and its Administration at ACPE Information Officer Registrar Original Approval Date May 2005 Commencement Date 21 st September 2011 Review/Approval Date 14 th November 2012 Version Number 4.0 Review/Approval Date Version Number Review/Approval Date Version Number Date of Next Review 1 st November 2015 Date of Next Review Date of Next Review Approval Authority Dean and Head of College Approval Signature Approval Date 04/04/2013 Fee Help and its Administration at ACPE V4.0 Page 10 of 10

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