VET FEE-HELP Balance Review Policy

version Jan 2015; revised June 2016

VET FEE-HELP Balance Review Policy Statement

This Policy applies to VET FEE-HELP students only. A FEE-HELP Balance is the debt incurred under VET FEE-HELP.

The College thorough the application of its Student Review and Re-crediting a Fee-Help Balance Policy will develop and maintain an effective, timely, fair and equitable procedure for reviews of this debt that is easily accessible to students and offered at no charge.

VET FEE-HELP Balance Review Policy Details

  • Incurring a VET FEE-HELP Debt

    A Student who is, or would be, eligible for VET FEE-HELP and has requested VET FEE-HELP Assistance, who withdraws from a unit of study on or before the census date will not incur a VET FEE-HELP debt for the tuition fees for that unit of study.

    Students who have requested VET FEE-HELP Assistance who remain enrolled after the published census date will incur a VET FEE-HELP debt.

    A Student who withdraws from a unit of study after the published census date for that unit of study will incur a VET FEE-HELP debt for that unit of study.

  • Re-crediting a FEE-HELP Balance

    Students who withdraw from a unit of study after the published census date, or fail to complete a unit of study, may apply to have their FEE-HELP balance re-credited with respect to the unit of study if they believe special circumstances apply in accordance with the following procedures.

  • VFH Balance Review Special Circumstances

    If a Student withdraws from a Unit after the published census date for that Unit, or has been unable to successfully complete a Unit, and believes this was due to special circumstances, the student may apply to have their FEE-HELP balance re-credited for the affected unit/s.

    1. The College will re-credit the Student’s FEE-HELP Balance if it is satisfied that Special Circumstances apply where:

    • These circumstances are beyond their control, and
    • These circumstances did not make their full impact on the student until on, or after the census date; and
    • These circumstances were such that it was impracticable for the Student to complete the requirements for the unit of study.

    2. For circumstances to be beyond a Student’s control, the situation should be that which a reasonable person would consider is not due to the Student’s action or inaction, either direct or indirect, and for which the Student is not responsible. The situation must be unusual, uncommon or abnormal to be considered special circumstances.

    3. Special circumstances do not include:

    • Lack of knowledge or understanding of requirements for VET FEE-HELP assistance; or
    • A Student’s incapacity to repay a VET FEE-HELP debt (repayments are income contingent and the Student can apply to the Australian Taxation Office for a deferral of a compulsory repayment in certain circumstances).
  • 2016 Review for Breach of VFH Rules

    VET FEE-HELP students that believe that their training provider or its education agent breaks any of the new VET FEE-HELP rules on or after 1 January 2016 can apply to have their VET FEE-HELP debt remitted.

  • Considering and Determining VET FEE-HELP Review Requests

    4. Each application for re-credit of a student’s FEE-HELP balance will be considered on its merits together with all supporting documentation substantiating the special circumstances claim.

    5. At the time of the original decision, and at the time of the subsequent Review Decision, the Student will be notified of the outcome; and their review rights and responsibilities.

    6. Statements of Attainment and Qualifications issued that relate to a Unit of Study amount that is recredited must be returned.

  • How to Request a VFH Balance Review

    1. A Student must complete and lodge the Review Request Application to the College within 12 months of the withdrawal date, or if the Student has not withdrawn, within 12 months of the specified completion date of the unit of study.

    Details of the:

    • Unit(s) od study for which a Student is seeking to have a FEE-HELP balance re-credited and
    • Special circumstances as referred to above, including supporting documentation must be provided on or with the Review Request Application Form.

    2. The Director of Training Services and Compliance is the designated officer to determine these review requests on behalf of the College.

    3. The College has the discretion to waive the lodgement time requirement if it is satisfied that it was not possible for the application to be made within the 12 month period. Relevant supporting documentation will be required to substantiate this claim.

    4. The College will consider each application within 30 number working days of receipt of the application.

    5. It will consider each request to re-credit a FEE-HELP balance in accordance with the requirements of Schedule 1A of the Act.

    6. Applicants will be notified in writing of the decision within 2 working days. If approval in principle is given, final approval is subject to the return of original Statements of Attainment, Qualifications and Transcripts of Results issued, and providing a Statutory Declaration that all copies have been destroyed.

  • Review of VFH Balance Review Decision

    1. Where the College makes a decision NOT to re-credit a student’s FEE-HELP balance that decision may be subject to review.

    2. If a Student is not satisfied with the decision made by the College, the Student may apply a review of the decision. The application for review must:

    • Be made within 28 days of receipt of the original decision
    • Include the date of the original decision
    • State fully the reasons for applying for the review
    • Include any additional relevant evidence

    3. Applications should be made in writing to the College Managing Director as the designated Review Officer of any decisions relating to a request for re‑crediting of a FEE-HELP balance.

    Note: The Review Officer is senior to the designated VET FEE‑HELP officer responsible for the original decision and was not involved in making the original decision to be reviewed.

    4. The Review Officer will:

    • Acknowledge receipt of the application for review of a decision in writing within 10 working days; and
    • Inform the Student that if the Review Officer has not advised them of a decision within 45 days of receipt of the application for review, it is taken that the Review Officer has confirmed the original decision.

    5. The Review Officer will then:

    • Review the information from the original decision and then assess any new evidence provided by the Student
    • Provide written notice to the Student of the decision, setting out the reasons for the decision
    • Inform the Student of their right to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal if they disagree with the Review Decision, and timelines involved (see below).

    RECONSIDERATION BY THE ADMINISTRATION APPEALS TRIBUNAL

    1. Students may appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) if they are not satisfied with the outcome of the internal Review of Decision.

    2. The College Review Officer will inform the student in writing of this right and provide the contact details of their closest AAT office and the approximate costs of lodging an appeal at that time.

    3. General contact details for the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) are:

    Administrative Appeals Tribunal
    GPO Box 9955 
    Sydney NSW 2001
    www.aat.gov.au
    Phone: 1300 366 700

    4. The approximate costs of the full application fee for lodging an appeal with the AAT is $816 (as at 17 April 2013). In certain circumstances, including for students receiving youth allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY this fee can be reduced to $100. See the AAT website for details.

    Note: Full details of the application process and fees payable are available on the AAT Registry’s website:www.aat.gov.au. Fees are subject to change – refer to the AAT website for up-to-date fee information. Applications cannot proceed until the fee has been paid or waived. Applications for fee waiver must be made to the AAT. Refer to the AAT website for more details.

    5. The Application must be lodged at the AAT within 28 days of receiving written notice of the Review Decision. This time limitation can be extended in limited circumstances by order of the AAT.

    6. The Secretary of the Department, or the Secretary’s delegate, will be the respondent for cases that are brought before the AAT. Upon the Department’s receipt of a notification from the AAT, the Department will notify the College that an appeal has been lodged. Upon receipt of this notification from the Department, the Review Officer will provide the Department with copies of all the documents that are relevant to the appeal within 10 business days.