Student Loans Policy

Policy Student Services Student Loans Policy

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Policy and Procedures

1. Student Loans Scheme - Introduction

The Student Loans Scheme ("the Scheme") provides University funding for assistance in the form of loans to students in genuine need. The Scheme is managed for the University by the Student Loans Committee ("the Committee"), with day-to-day administration by the Student Loans Officers.

2. Principles of the Scheme

The total capacity of the Student Loans Assistance Scheme will be limited to the amount listed in the Student Loans Scheme Policy – Schedule A. The central purpose of the Scheme is to provide funds to students whose capacity to continue or complete their studies is threatened because of financial difficulties. Loans are intended to aid students to meet such reasonable expenses as are required to be met in order to successfully continue or complete their studies.

In order to qualify for assistance under the Scheme, students must satisfy the authorised delegate (refer to 3.3) that they would be unable to proceed with their course, or would suffer undue hardship in proceeding with their course, were they not to receive financial assistance. They must also satisfy the authorised delegate (refer to 3.3) they would be able to proceed with and complete their course in the event of their receiving assistance.

The Scheme is designed to be a lender of last resort to students who may have inadequate resources or credit history to qualify for a loan from other sources (such as banks). Students are expected to have fully explored all other avenues of assistance before applying for assistance.

3. Operation of the Scheme

3.1 Membership of the Committee

The Committee shall consist of the:

a) Director, Student and Academic Services ex officio (or nominee) (Chair);

b) Operations Co-ordinator, Student Finance (or nominee) (Secretary);

c) Executive Director, Finance & Resource Planning ex officio (or nominee);

d) Welfare Coordinator, JCU Student Association ex officio (or nominee);

e) President, JCU Student Association ex officio (or nominee).

Except as hereinafter provided the person in position a) will preside at all meetings.

If the person in position a) is absent from a meeting, the members of the Sub-committee present shall elect one of their number to chair that meeting.

The secretary shall be the Operations Coordinator, Student Finance ex officio (or nominee).

At any meeting of the Committee three of its members shall be a quorum.

3.2 Criteria for Evaluating Applications

The authorised delegates (refer 3.3) must, in considering applications for assistance, take into account:

  • other than for commencing students, the level of satisfactory progress in the applicant's study, as evidenced by the applicant's academic record;

  • the necessity of the purpose for which the assistance is sought with respect to the applicant's study proceeding;

  • the level of financial assistance already provided to the applicant (eg. under AUSTUDY, etc);

  • the capacity of the applicant to obtain a loan or other funding from another source; and

  • the potential of the applicant to service a loan within the terms specified.

The authorised delegates (refer to 3.3) must avail themselves of the Guidelines to the Administration of Student Loans, which includes descriptions of both Eligible and Excluded Loans Types. Where, however, it can be demonstrated that there are exceptional and compassionate circumstances, the authorised delegate (refer to 3.3.2) may give consideration to loans that are Excluded or otherwise do not fall within the range of Eligible Loans.

These Guidelines must be re-considered by the Committee on an annual basis.

3.3 Authorised Officers for Consideration of Loan Applications

3.3.1 Where an application for a loan, or for an extension to a loan, is submitted to a Student Loans Officer and, in the opinion of the Student Loans Officer, the application:

a. conforms to an Eligible Loan Type,

b. conforms to the Limits on Loans (see 3.5.1),

c. is for a term that falls within the expected length of the student's course,

the Student Loans Officer may seek approval for the loan (or extension) from:

the Manager, Enrolments & Fees;

the Operations Coordinator, Student Finance;

the Coordinator, Student Administration (Cairns);

the Director, Student and Academic Services.

As a quality control measure, every thirtieth application must be considered and approved/rejected by two of the above authorised delegates. In instances where the two delegates are unable to reach consensus, the Director, Student and Academic Services shall make an executive decision.

3.3.2 Where, in the opinion of a Student Loans Officer, a matter arises which is outside the scope of 3.3.1 the Student Loans Officer may seek executive decision on the matter from:

- the Director, Student and Academic Services.

3.3.3 The Student Loans Officers have the authority to approve loans for the purpose of payment of textbooks from the University Bookshop up to the maximum amount listed in the Student Loans Policy – Schedule A.

3.4 Reporting

The Student Loans Officers shall provide reports to the Sub-committee and Finance Committee.

3.5 Conditions of Loan

For each loan, a contract must be executed between the University and the student detailing the terms and conditions of the loan. Loan repayment arrangements must be included in the contract.

Where agreed by the student the method of payment shall be via direct debiting to the student's nominated bank account.

The Student Loans Officers have the delegated authority to sign such contracts on the University's behalf.

3.5.1 Limit

The limit to loans to any one student is:

no more than the maximum loan amount plus any default fee and debt collection fee, as listed in the Student Loans Scheme Policy – Schedule A, can be accrued as total loan debt.

This limit may be waived in exceptional and compassionate circumstances by the authorised delegate [refer 3.3.2]

3.5.2 Guarantors

A guarantor is required for all loans to commencing students, and all other loans that exceed the maximum loan amount permissible for loans without guarantor listed in the Student Loans Scheme Policy Schedule, except where approved by the authorised delegate (refer 3.3.2).

All guarantors must be at least 18 years of age.

The requirement for a guarantor may be waived in exceptional and compassionate circumstances by the authorised delegate [refer 3.3.2]

A guarantor should not normally be a currently enrolled JCU student. This may by waived in exceptional and compassionate circumstances by the authorised delegate [refer 3.3].

3.5.3 Term

The term of a loan is negotiated with the applicant. Minimum repayment rates are detailed in the Guidelines to the Administration of Student Loans. The Student Loans Officer may approve the first request from a student to extend the term of a loan, for a period of up to 3 months. Any additional request for extension of loan must be sought via the usual application process.

Other than for exceptional and compassionate circumstances, all outstanding loans must be settled prior to a student completing his or her degree. In the event that the University decides to allow a student to receive their official notification of final results or to graduate without full compliance with loan conditions, the loan conditions must be renegotiated beforehand.

Repayment of loans made for Association Services Fee must be repaid in full by the last teaching day in each semester. There will be no extensions.

3.5.4 Interest

Interest is not charged on loans.

3.5.5 Default

The University Rules on Student D ebtors – Penalties includes that the University may:

- withhold official notification of final results in any subject, or

- refuse to graduate, or

- refuse enrolment for a subsequent academic year,

for any student who has not complied fully with the conditions under which the student obtained a loan under the Scheme.

A student who defaults on two consecutive repayments shall incur a default fee at the amount listed in the Student Loans Policy – Schedule A.

A student who defaults on five or more consecutive repayments will be deemed to have defaulted on the total outstanding amount of the loan and the debt shall be referred to the University's debt collectors for action.

A debt collection fee will be charged by the University at the amount listed in the Student Loans Policy – Schedule A.

A student or their guarantor will be liable for all costs relating to recovery of outstanding loan repayments (eg. debt collection, legal costs.) It is the prerogative of the University to pursue defaulters in whichever manner deemed appropriate.

3.6 Loans Relevant to University-Related Entities

Loans that fall within the Criteria outlined in this Policy may be granted for outstanding payments to University-related entities; or a University Halls of Residence or affiliated colleges and the University Bookshop.

Monies will thereafter be paid to the Student Association (for loans for Association Services Fees) only as they are repaid by the student.

3.7 Loans to International Students

The Student Loans Officer will consult with the International Student Centre, regarding loan applications from international students.

3.8 Loans for the Payment of Fees

Loans will not normally be granted for the purpose of payment of Tuition Fees student contribution amounts or International Student Fees.

3.9 Bankruptcy

No loan shall be approved for a student who is a current declared bankrupt.

3.10 Loan Funds Dispensation

Loan funds will normally be dispensed by electronic transfer to relevant third parties. Loans for textbooks will be administered through a credit arrangement at the JCU Bookshop. Refunds for overpayment of loans will be dispensed by electronic transfer into the student’s nominated bank account.

Schedule A

Policy

Reference

Amount

Clause 2

The total capacity of the Student Loans Scheme will be limited to the amount listed in the Student Loans Scheme Policy – Schedule A

$600,000

Clause 3.3.3

The Student Loans Officers have the authority to approve loans for the purpose of payment of textbooks from the University Bookshop up to the maximum amount listed in the Student Loans Scheme Policy – Schedule A

$600

Clause 3.5.1

The limit to loans to any one student is that no more than the maximum amount listed in the Student Loans Scheme Policy – Schedule A can be accrued as total loan debt

$1,000

Clause 3.5.2

A guarantor is required for all loans to commencing students and all other loans that exceed the maximum loan amount permissible for loans without guarantor as listed in the Student Loans Scheme Policy – Schedule A

$500

Clause 3.5.5

A student who defaults on two consecutive repayments shall incur a default fee at the amount listed in the Student Loans Scheme Policy – Schedule A

$25

Clause

3.5.5

A student who defaults on five or more consecutive repayments shall have their loan referred to the University’s debt collectors for action. A debt collection fee will be charged by the University at the amount listed in the Student Loans Scheme Policy – Schedule A

10% of the total loan (including the default fee).

Approval Details

Policy sponsor:

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic

Approval authority:

Academic Board

Approval date:

24/06/2015

Version no.:

15-1

Date for next review:

28/11/2011

Modification History

Version

Revision date

Description of changes

Author

15-1

24/06/2015

Policy sponsor and approval authority amended to reflect approved policy framework

QSP

Version no.

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

06-3

Minor amendment approved by Director, SAS – Clause 3.5.2 reference to Authorised Limits #311, Financial Practice Manual removed (policy no longer exists).

06-3

28/11/2006

14/12/2006

06-2

28/04/2006

01/06/2006

06-1

15/03/2006

15/03/2006

05-1

18/11/2004

18/11/2004

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