13. Exemption scholarships

13.1 - What is an exemption scholarship?

A provider may award a student an exemption scholarship for a course of study. Students who are awarded an exemption scholarship do not have to pay any of their student contribution amounts and tuition fees for any units of study undertaken as part of that course of study, from the point at which the scholarship is awarded [HESA subsection 169-20 (3)].

Exemption scholarships are for the full amount of a student’s contribution or tuition fee. Partial payment by a provider of a student’s contribution or tuition fees for a course of study is not an exemption scholarship.

A Commonwealth supported student who has been awarded an exemption scholarship must complete a Request for a Commonwealth supported place and a HECS-HELP loan form. Exemption scholarships cannot be awarded for units of study only; they can only be awarded in respect of a courses of study.

13.2 - Eligibility for an exemption scholarship

Domestic students

A provider may award an exemption scholarship to any domestic student. The provider must meet the cost of the exemption scholarship. The provider will not receive a student contribution amount or tuition fee from the student, or receive any payment from the Commonwealth to cover the student contribution or tuition fee.

A provider will receive the Commonwealth contribution for students who are Commonwealth supported for the units of study they undertake under an exemption scholarship.

Overseas students

A provider may award scholarships to overseas students (see part 28.1), but these are not exemption scholarships as defined in HESA. HESA does not provide for exemption scholarships to be awarded to overseas students.

13.3 - When may an exemption scholarship be awarded?

Exemption scholarships may be awarded at any time during a student’s course of study. A student’s status as an exempt student commences from the time they enrol in any units of study after the awarding of the exemption scholarship. A provider is not required to refund a student’s contribution amounts or tuition fees for units completed prior to the awarding of the exemption scholarship. However, if the provider will not be providing a refund, the student should be advised that this is the case, and that the exemption scholarship is accepted subject to those terms.

13.4 - Notifying the student

A provider must notify the student in the CAN (see part 11.1) they are an exempt student because they have been awarded an exemption scholarship.

13.5 - Social security treatment of exemption scholarships

Exemption scholarships are not considered income for social security purposes under subsection 8(zja) of the Social Security Act 1991 or ABSTUDY policy.