FEE-HELP Terms and Conditions
The following terms and conditions apply to FEE-HELP funding for AIM’s Higher Education programs and VET FEE-HELP funding for AIM’s VET Diploma and Advanced Diploma programs.
Please note: FEE-HELP is a loan scheme that applies only to Higher Education courses of study; VET FEE-HELP is a loan scheme that only applies to Vocational Education and Training courses of study. Further information on these two loan schemes including student eligibility can be found at www.studyassist.gov.au/sites/StudyAssist.
Students who are eligible for FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP have two options to pay their tuition fees:
- Pay some or all of their tuition fees up-front, or
- Submit a Request for FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP Assistance form to defer some or all of their tuition fees through FEE-HELP.
Students entitled to access FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP have until the unit Census Date to submit their request for loans under these schemes, or pay the tuition fees up-front. If the form is not submitted by the Census Date the student will be required to pay their tuition fees up-front or their enrolment will be cancelled.
A tuition fee is the fee determined by AIM and payable by a student for a unit of study. It includes, but is not limited to:
- Tuition services, including instruction and delivery to a student
- Examination, evaluation and or any other assessment required for the completion of the unit of study
- Recognition of prior learning (RPL).
Examples of costs that should be included as part of the tuition fee and will not be separately charged are:
- Course materials, such as subject outlines, reading lists, tutorial or seminar topics and problems, assignment and essay questions, and requirements and guidelines for the presentation of work
- Access to computers or other online resources
- Admissions services, including application costs, except for special admissions tests
- Examinations or assessments
- Reassessment of results where a student has failed an assessment and thereby failed a subject or unit
- Mailing charges associated with distance education and course notes provided as part of distance education.
Tuition fees do not include a fee that is payable for:
- Aan organisation of students, or of students and other people
- The provision to students of amenities or services that are not of an academic nature
- Residential accommodation
- A special admissions test
- Goods or services that are in addition to tuition fees and are ‘incidental’ to the students studies
- Fines or penalties.
Full fee-paying students who meet the specified eligibility criteria and are enrolled in a FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP eligible qualification will be charged the same Tuition Fee for a particular Unit of Study irrespective of whether they pay up-front or take out a loan.
As both a Higher Education provider offering FEE-HELP eligible courses and a VET provider offering VET FEE-HELP courses, AIM sets census dates for each unit of study that it provides. The census date is the date on which loan scheme debts for units of study are incurred by the student and the Australian Government is liable to pay a student’s tuition fees.
The published date, set by AIM, up to and including which:
- A student must submit their completed request for FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP assistance
- A student enrolled in a unit of study may withdraw without financial or academic penalty.
The census date will be no earlier than 20% of the way through the period during which the unit is undertaken, including the assessment period as defined by the Higher Education Support Act 2003. The period of time during which the unit of study is undertaken includes any normal study breaks, assessments and/or examination periods.
AIM understands and agrees to adhere by the following variation policy.
AIM may only vary a published Higher Education or VET tuition fee and/or a published census date for a Higher Education or VET unit of study if the variation occurs prior to the published census date for the unit of study, and
a) the variation does not disadvantage a Higher Education student enrolled, or a person seeking to enrol; and
b) the variation is necessary to correct the published Higher Education tuition fee and/or the published census date due to administrative error or circumstances that did not apply at the time the tuition fee or census date was determined.
A student will be disadvantaged by a variation that increases the student contribution amount or tuition fee.
In relation to replacement schedules AIM must withdraw the previous schedule, inform the Minister of the variation and give the Minister a replacement schedule incorporating the variation is by publishing the replacement schedule on the AIM website as soon as practicable after making that decision.
Restricted Access Courses
A restricted access arrangement course is an agreement between AIM and an employer or industry body. AIM undertakes to provide a course or places in the course and enrolment is limited or restricted to employees of the employer or affiliates of the industry body.
This gives AIM greater flexibility to meet specific training needs of employers and industry bodies. Students enrolled in courses with restricted access arrangements are still eligible for FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP. While census dates and EFTSL values must be determined for restricted access arrangement courses, AIM is not required to publish a schedule for these units of study.
Withdrawals and Refunds
If a student who has requested FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP assistance withdraws from a unit of study on or before the census date for that unit of study, the student will not incur a FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP debt for that unit of study and any tuition fees paid upfront will be refunded. In this circumstance a request for refund is not required as withdrawal from the unit is sufficient.
If a student who has requested FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP assistance withdraws from a unit of study after the census date for that unit of study, the student will incur a FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP debt for that unit of study and there is no legislative requirement for AIM to refund any upfront payments.
A student who has incurred a FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP debt for a unit of study may apply to have their FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP balance re-credited and their debt remitted for the affected units of study in accordance with the following procedure.
In the event Tuition Assurance circumstances arise, a refund may be granted in accordance with provisions of the Tuition Assurance statement.
You can withdraw your enrolment in a unit of study at any time before the census date by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org stating your reasons for wanting to withdraw.
If a student withdraws from a unit of study on or after the census date, or has been unable to successfully complete a unit of study, and believes this was due to special circumstances, then the student may apply to have their FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP balance re-credited and debt remitted for the affected units of study.
AIM will re-credit the student’s FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP balance and remit their debt if it is satisfied that special circumstances apply that:
- Are beyond the student’s control; and
- Did not make their full impact on the student until on or after the census date for the unit of study in question; and
- Make it impractical for the student to complete the requirements for the unit(s) of study in question.
Special circumstances include:
- Medical circumstances: where a student’s medical condition has changed to such an extent that he or she is unable to continue studying, or
- Family/Personal circumstances: death or severe medical problems within a family, or unforeseen family financial difficulties, so that it is unreasonable to expect a student to continue studies, or
- Employment related circumstances: where a person’s employment status or arrangements have changed so that the person is unable to continue his or her studies, and this change is beyond the person’s control, or
- Course related circumstances: where AIM has changed the unit it had offered and the person is disadvantaged by either not being able to complete the unit, or not being given credit towards other units or courses.
Evidence sufficient for a claim of special circumstances shall include (but is not limited to) the following:
- In respect to Medical circumstances, the provision of a medical certificate from a medical practitioner
- In respect to Family/Personal circumstances, a statutory declaration witnessed by a Justice of the Peace, and where family medical problems are cited, a copy of a medical certificate from a medical practitioner
- In respect to Employment related circumstances, a written declaration from an officer of the employer describing the change in employment status
- In respect to Course related circumstances, a statutory declaration detailing the disadvantage the change has/will cause witnessed by a Justice of the Peace.
AIM will be satisfied that a student’s circumstances are beyond the student’s control if a situation occurs that a reasonable person would consider is not due to the person’s action or inaction, either direct or indirect, and for which the student is not responsible. The situation must be unusual, uncommon or abnormal. A lack of understanding or knowledge of the requirements of FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP and the responsibilities of a student is not considered under the Act to be beyond the student’s control.
Each application will be examined and determined on its merits by considering a student’s claim together with independent supporting documentation substantiating the claim.
Initial applications for the re-crediting of a student’s FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP balance are to be made, in writing.
AIM will consider the application and will agree to such requests if they are satisfied that there were special circumstances in the student’s case. If a decision is made to re-credit the student’s FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP balance, AIM will notify the Department of Education and will repay to the Commonwealth any FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP assistance received on the student’s behalf.
A student may make an application to have his or her FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP balance re-credited within 12 months of the withdrawal date for a unit or, if the student has not withdrawn, within 12 months of the end of the period in which the unit was to be undertaken. This 12 month period may be extended on the grounds that it was not possible to apply within the 12 months period.
When a student withdraws from a unit of study or applies for special consideration, AIM shall confirm the withdrawal/request by giving notice to the student in writing stating the date at which the withdrawal has taken effect.
The AIM FEE-HELPAdministrator shall advise the student of the outcome of the application within 28 days stating the reasons for the decision and advise the student of their rights for a review of the decision if they are not satisfied with its outcome.
Where a decision results in re-crediting a student’s FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP balance and/or the refund of a student’s upfront payment, AIM will notify the Commonwealth and will repay to the Commonwealth any VET FEE-HELP assistance received on the student’s behalf.
AIM has a designated Review Officer to undertake reviews of VET FEE-HELP decisions made by the Administrator should the review process be requested. Contact details for the Review Officer are:
Head of Finance
PO Box 200
Spring Hill Qld 4004
The Review Officer must not review a decision they have made, or been involved in making, and must occupy a position that is senior to that of any person involved in making the original decision.
Review of a Decision
If a student is not satisfied with the decision made by the AIM in relation to re-crediting their FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP balance, they may request a review of the decision.
The review shall be carried out by the Review Officer who is senior to the original decision maker.
Any such request must be submitted in writing and:
a) must be lodged within 28 days of receiving notice of the original decision; and
b) must specify the date of the decision and the reasons for making the review request.
AIM will acknowledge receipt of an application for a review of the refusal to re-credit a FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP balance in writing.
The review process will include:
a) investigation of all relevant information from the person who made the original decision;
b) review the case within 3 weeks and advise the student of the decision in writing, giving the reasons for the reviewer’s decision.
If the reviewer has not advised the student of a decision within 45 days of receiving the request for review, the reviewer is taken to have confirmed the original decision.
The outcome of the review may:
a) confirm the original decision;
b) vary the original decision; or
c) set the original decision aside and substitute a new decision.
Throughout the process of a review or appeal of a decision, the following principles will apply:
- Students have the right to be accompanied or represented by a third party such as a family member, friend, counsellor or professional support person.
- There will be no financial charges incurred by the students in regard to accessing the internal AIM review procedures.
- Complainants and/or respondents are entitled to full explanations in writing of any decisions or actions taken as part of the review/appeal process.
- The privacy of all parties involved in the AIM complaint resolution process will be protected, subject to necessary legal responsibilities.
- Students and staff will be protected from victimisation and discrimination.
- Reviewers will not have been involved in making the decision under review.
- A reviewer will hold a position that is senior to the officer who made the original decision.
Where a student is unsatisfied with the reviewed decision, they may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for consideration of AIM’s decision to refuse to re-credit their FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP balance. The student may supply additional information to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal which they did not previously supply to AIM either in the original application or the request for review.
The applicant shall also be advised in the decision of the right to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision; and be provided with the contact details of the closest Administrative Appeals Tribunal Registry. The current fee to lodge an application with the AAT for the review of a decision is $816 (as at February 2014).
Administrative Appeals Tribunal
Australian Capital Territory
14 Moore Street
Canberra City ACT 2600
New South Wales
Level 7, City Centre Tower
55 Market Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Queensland & Northern Territory
Level 4, Harry Gibbs Building Commonwealth Law Courts
119 North Quay
Brisbane QLD 4000
Level 11, Chesser House
91 Grenfell Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Ground Floor, Edward Braddon Building
Commonwealth Law Courts
39-41 Davey Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Level 16, HWT Tower, Southgate
40 City Road
Southbank VIC 3006
The Secretary of the Department responsible for administering FEE-HELP / VET FEE-HELP, 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 AIM that an appeal has been lodged. Upon receipt of this notification AIM will provide the Department with copies of all the documents they hold that are relevant to the appeal within five business days.
Course dates, times and course content are occasionally subject to change. Should the need for such changes occur, every effort is made to inform course participants prior to the commencement of training.