Current Students Fees & Financial Support Eligibility Conditions for Commonwealth Assistance

Eligibility Conditions for Commonwealth Assistance

From 1 January 2022, reforms to higher education have been introduced with new Commonwealth Assistance eligibility requirements.

If you commence a new course or course transfer from 2022 and are in a Commonwealth Supported Place or accessing FEE-HELP, these changes impact you.

The changes we want you to be aware of are:

  • that only genuine students have access to Commonwealth assistance
  • that students have been assessed as academically suitable for their course
  • that students maintain a reasonable completion rate to continue to access Commonwealth assistance
  • that students are limited on the amount of study that a student can enrol in at one time

In addition, the Government has implemented Student Learning Entitlements which are applicable to commencing and continuing students.

Universities are required to assess students as ‘genuine’ as part of their eligibility for continued Commonwealth assistance. This is to prevent students from occupying a Commonwealth Supported Place that may be better utilised by genuine students and from taking on HELP debts for study that is not appropriate for them.

Factors that universities may use to determine whether you are a genuine student are:

  • your engagement with your course
  • whether you have been provided with information about the requirements for, and the cost and duration of your course
  • whether you satisfy the course requirements and complete your assessments
  • pattern of logins to your enrolled subject sites
  • if you have provided up‑to‑date contact details that the government can use to confirm your enrolment
  • any enrolments in other courses that may make it impossible or highly improbable for you to complete your course.

Academic suitability for entry into a course will be based on merit, perceived probability of success in the course, entry requirements and for international students GTE status. This is in accordance with:

Ongoing academic suitability will be determined based on Academic Progression Policy and associated procedures.

A low completion rate is when you don’t pass at least 50 per cent of the subjects you attempted, after you have attempted:

  • 8 or more subjects in a bachelor level or higher course; OR
  • 4 or more subjects in a higher education course lower than a bachelor course - e.g. diploma

Students will be assessed for a low completion rate in accordance with Clause 13 of the Coursework Enrolment Procedure

Subjects that will be counted as not passed are:

  • Subjects with a fail grade
  • Subjects where a student has withdrawn after census date and not had a successful outcome from a Withdrawal without Financial Penalty application.

If you have a low completion rate, you can:

  • continue your course by becoming a full fee-paying student and paying upfront.  You will not be eligible for access to HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP.  Once you increase your pass rate to 50% or above you will be eligible for Commonwealth assistance for your course again.
  • if you have special circumstances that impacted your ability to successfully complete the failed subjects you may wish to apply for a Withdrawal without Financial Penalty. If this application is successful, the failed subjects will be withdrawn and not count toward your low completion rate and you may be eligible for Commonwealth assistance again.

If your current course is not the right one for you, you can consider a transfer to a new course. If you change to a new course, your previous completion rate will not carry over and you will be able to access Commonwealth assistance for your new course. Course transfers will be assessed in accordance with the Course Transfer Procedure including ensuring students are academically suitable to study in a new course.

Students will be assessed for admission into more than one course whether at JCU or at another university in accordance with Clause 13 of the Admissions Procedure.

Students are also limited to the number of subject enrolments per teaching period in accordance with Clause 5 of the Coursework Enrolment Procedure.

SLE is used to measure the timeframe you could be enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place. This entitlement is 7 years full-time or the part-time equivalent.

The SLE requirement applies to all students in a CSP who are undertaking subjects with a census date from 1 January 2022 onwards (subjects undertaken before this date don't count towards the SLE).

If you run out of SLE, you are no longer eligible to study in a Commonwealth Supported place. If you are in this situation, you can:

  1. be charged tuition fee paying rates and continue to pay for your study using a FEE-HELP loan (if you are eligible and up to the maximum of your HELP balance); or
  2. pay your tuition fees up-front; or
  3. resume studies when you accrue more SLE

You may be eligible for additional SLE. For more information refer to the government StudyAssist page.

Changes To Commonwealth Assistance