Remission (removal) of debt in special circumstances – HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, UPFRONT student contribution and re-credit of SLE procedure

Intent

To facilitate and enable the application for the re-crediting and/or remission of Student Learning Entitlement (SLE), HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP Balance and FEE-HELP as well as the refund of upfront fees where a student is prevented from completing or withdrawing from a course due to special circumstances.

Scope

This procedure applies to all domestic Higher Education coursework students including cross-institutional students and domestic full fee Research students.

Exclusions

TAFE, Research (RTS) and International Students (both onshore and offshore) as well as students studying through RMIT English Worldwide, Foundation Studies and RMIT Training are excluded from this procedure.

Procedure steps and actions

Procedure

Responsibility

Timeline

Who can apply

Higher Education coursework students who withdraw from a program or course after the Census date can apply to have their:

  • Student Learning Entitlement (SLE) re-credited
  • FEE-HELP balance re-credited
  • Up-front tuition fee payments refunded
  • HECS-HELP debt for a course consisting wholly of work experience in industry (WEI) remitted, or
  • Up-front payment of a student contribution in respect of a course consisting wholly of WEI refunded

Where the student has been prevented from completing the course due to special circumstances (see ‘Making a Decision’ below for a definition and interpretation of Special Circumstances)

A student cannot apply for a re-credit or a remission for a course if they successfully complete that course. A student who receives a fail grade is not considered to have successfully completed the course and may apply for a re-credit or remission providing the fail is attributable to special circumstances (see ‘Making a Decision’ for a definition of special circumstances). Being unable to meet the academic requirements of a course does not of itself make a student eligible for re-credit or remission.

Note: A person’s HECS-HELP debt in relation to a course is taken to be remitted if their SLE is re-credited and a person’s FEE-HELP debt in relation to a unit of study is taken to be remitted if the person’s FEE-HELP balance is re-credited

Applications must be submitted on or before the application deadline (see below)

Application deadline

An application for a re-credit or a remission must be made, in writing, within 12 months of the withdrawal date, or if the student has not withdrawn, within 12 months of the end of the period of study in which the course was, or was to be, undertaken.

Student/applicant

12 months from withdrawal (or 12 months from the end of the semester in which the course was, or was to be, undertaken)

Waiver of application deadline

A student who is applying with respect to study commenced on or after 1 January 2005 may apply to have this deadline waived on the ground that it would not be, or was not, possible for the application to be submitted before the deadline

An application for waiver must be in writing and include a description of the circumstances that prevented timely submission together with any independent supporting documentation. If this documentation is the same as that being used in support of the application itself only one copy need be provided but the documentation must accompany the waiver application and the waiver application must be submitted first.

There is no waiver of the application deadline for study commenced prior to 1 January, 2005.

Student/applicant

As soon as possible after the conditions preventing application are removed or sufficiently reduced to permit completion and submission of the application

Application process

Applications must be in writing (preferably on the RMIT Remission/Re-credit application form) and include independent supporting documentation, for example Medical Certificates or letters from a doctor or counsellor indicating dates of incapacity (e.g. dates of stay in hospital, dates of counselling services), to support the person’s claims.

Applications should be submitted to the Compliance Officer, Student Records.

Applications must be submitted prior to the application deadline or be accompanied by an application for waiver of the application deadline (see above).

Student/applicant

Refer to application deadlines and waiver of application deadlines

Preliminary checks and record keeping

When an application has been received the decision maker will perform the following checks:

  • Date stamp the application with received date
  • Check that the application has been signed
  • Check application for supporting documentation and ensure that application is complete
  • Check that the student has not previously applied to RMIT for remission/re-credit for the same study

If application is for pre 1 January 2005 study, check that the student has not previously applied to DEST for remission/re-credit for the same study via the provider enquiry email system by requesting DEST confirm that the student has/or has not previously applied

  • Check that the application is within the timeframe or is accompanied by an Application for Waiver of the Application Deadline (only applications relating to 2005 or later enrolment may include an application to waive the application deadline). Applications not within the deadline are to be rejected unless the student has included an application to waive the deadline or a waiver of the deadline has been previously granted
  • Register the application and allocate a case reference number

Compliance Officer

On receipt of application (or as soon as practicable afterwards)

Notifying student of receipt of application

Once an application has been received and the preliminary checks and registration undertaken the student is to be notified in writing of the receipt of the application stating:

  • The timeframe for consideration of the application (60 days)
  • Any reference or file number used to track the application

or

  • That the application cannot be considered due to lateness or because it duplicates a previous or current application.
  • Reference number of current application and any reference or file numbers of previous applications together with the status of those applications

See Sample Letter in Templates related to this procedure

Compliance Officer

Within 3 days

Assessing an application deadline waiver

Prior to assessing an application to remit or re-credit, the Compliance Officer shall review any application for deadline waiver. (If the application to remit or re-credit is within the application deadline then this step is not necessary).

  1. Does the application relate to study that commenced on or after 1 January, 2005.
  2. If no – reject the application and notify the student (Appendix 7)
  3. If yes determine if the circumstances described and the supporting documentation supplied, verify that it was not possible for the application to have been submitted prior to the application deadline
  4. To assist with this determination the decision maker may use the following as a guide
  • that the circumstances were beyond the person’s control
  • that they exist or have existed for a significant part of the application period especially the latter part approaching the deadline, and
  • that the circumstances made it impractical for the person to meet the application deadline

Compliance Officer

Within 5 days of receipt of the application.

Making the decision

If the application to remit or re-credit has been accepted as within the application deadline or the application deadline has been waived the decision maker shall determine to remit or re-credit if they are satisfied that Special Circumstances apply to the person that:

  • are beyond the person’s control
  • did not make their full impact until on, or after the census date, and
  • make it impracticable for the person to complete the requirements for the Vet unit of study in the period during which the person undertook, or was to undertake, the Vet unit of study

Guidelines have been attached to assist with the definition of special circumstances.

Compliance officer

As soon as practicable but within 28 days

Notification to dest of the decision

Where the decision results in the re-crediting of the student’s SLE or FEE-HELP Balance, the remission of a person’s HELP debt, and/or the refund of the student’s up-front payments the Compliance Officer must notify DEST through the SLE and HELP RevisionsFile

Please note RMIT is required to repay to the Commonwealth any amounts of HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP assistance that we have received from the Commonwealth on that student’s behalf for any enrolment that the student’s SLE or FEE-HELP balance is remitted

Compliance Officer

Within 3 working days

Arranging refund tuition fees

Where the decision involves the refunding of local full upfront course fees or upfront payments the Compliance Officer shall notify the Manager, Student Financials in Financial Services Group and request that the student’s account be re-credited with the course fee.

Compliance Officer

Within 3 working days

Student’s fees are re-credited to the student’s account

Manager, Student Financials

Within 5 working days.

Amending the student’s academic record

Where a decision is made to re-credit, remit or refund cost and entitlements associated with a course of study the student will also be entitled to have their academic record amended

The Compliance Officer will notify Student Information Services and request that the student’s academic record be amended so that the course(s) remain on the student’s record with the grade of Withdrawn (WDR)

Compliance Officer

Within 3 Working Days

Students academic record amended as requested

SIS

Within 5 working days.

Notifying applicant of the decision

Once any required amendments to the student’s academic and financial records have been completed the student shall be advised of the decision in writing (See Sample Letter in Templates related to this procedure) The letter must state:

  • Whether the application has been approved or denied
  • The reasons for the decision
  • Where the decision is to refund tuition fees or upfront payments, that the fees have been re-credited to the students account and RMIT’s refund policy and application process for accessing that money
  • Where the decision is to re-credit or remit SLE, FEE- HELP Balance etc, state the date that DEST was notified and a summary of what it was advised (including what this means –HECS-HELP loan will be re-credited etc)
  • The review process (how to request a review of the decision if unsatisfied with the outcome)
  • The student must be advised that the time limit for applying for a review of the decision is 28 days from the day they first received notice of the decision
  • The name and contact number of a staff member who can answer questions and clarify matters if the student is unclear about the decision

Compliance Officer

As soon as practicable after decision is made and all amendments have been made to the students record but must occur within 60 days of receipt of the original application

Requesting a review of the decision

The student has 28 days from the receipt of the decision to request a review of the decision

The application should be in writing and must state the reasons for requesting a review of the decision. The application may include additional documents or evidence that was not provided in the original application

Applicant

Within 28 days of receipt of decision

The Academic Registrar may permit applications for review of a decision to be submitted after 28 days where the student can demonstrate that it would not be, or was not, possible for the application to be submitted before the deadline

Academic Registrar

Within 3 working days of request

Notification of receipt of request for review

The Review Officer (or delegate) will write to the student advising them of receipt of the request for review and advise the student that if they do not receive written notification of the outcome of the review within 45 days then the original decision is confirmed

See Sample Letter in Templates related to this procedure

Review Officer or delegate

Within 3 days of receipt of application

Review of a decision

  • The Review Officer will be a senior member of the Academic Registrar’s Office who is not the same officer who made the original decision and who occupies a position that is senior to that occupied by the original decision maker
  • The Review Officer will review any new or additional evidence provided by the student and re-examine the original decision in line with the requirements and guidelines under which that decision was made
  • The Review Officer can decide to:
  • Confirm the original decision
  • Vary the original decision
  • Set aside the original decision and substitute a new decision

Review Officer

Within 28 days of receipt of the application

Notification of the decision

The Review Officer who is not the same officer who made the original decision and who occupies a position that is senior to that occupied by the original decision maker (or delegate) will notify the student of the outcome of the review in writing including:

  • The reasons for the decision
  • The student’s right of appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) if they are unsatisfied with the outcome of their appeal
  • The contact details and address of the nearest AAT together with the approximate cost of an appeal
  • Contact details of a person who can answer questions in relation to the outcome of the review
  • See Sample Letter in Templates related to this procedure

Review Officer or Delegate

As soon as practicable after the decision has been made but within 3 days

Reconsideration by the AAT

If the student lodges an application for reconsideration to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) the Secretary of DEST (or delegate) will be the respondent. Once DEST has received notification from the AAT that a person has applied for reconsideration the Secretary must lodge certain documents with the AAT within 28 days

DEEWR will notify RMIT in writing that an appeal has been lodged with the AAT. Upon receipt of that notification RMIT must supply DEEWR with the originals of all documents held that are relevant to the appeal within 5 working days

Copies of all documents are to be retained by Business Systems and Compliance

All documents are to be sent to DEST via Courier or Express Post

Review Officer or Delegate

5 Working Days

Maintenance of files

Files of original documentation are to be maintained by Business Systems and Compliance.

Compliance Officer

All original documentation to be forwarded to Business Systems and Compliance once a decision has been made.

Decision maker/ Review Officer.

Immediately following decision

[Next: Supporting documents and information]