18.1 - Fees for goods and services incidental to studies
Commonwealth supported students and domestic fee-paying students generally must be able to complete the requirements of their course of study without having to pay fees that are additional to student contribution amounts (see part 23.1) or tuition fees (see part 25.1).
Certain incidental fees are allowed. The criteria for deciding whether a fee is incidental are set out in chapter 7 of the HEP Guidelines and HESA [HESA paragraph 19-102 (3)(f)]. Bonds and deposits related to the payment of tuition fees, whether refundable or not, are not allowed under these guidelines.
18.2 - Circumstances in which a provider may levy incidental fees
In accordance with chapter 7 of the HEP Guidelines, a provider may charge a student for a good or service related to the provision of their course if one of the following criteria applies:
|Incidental fees and charge||Examples|
|Goods or services not essential to the course.||These can include:
|Alternative forms of access to goods or services essential to the course, but are otherwise readily available at no additional cost by the provider.||These can include:
|Essential goods or services that students have the choice of acquiring from a supplier other than the provider and is for equipment or items that become the student’s physical property and are not consumed in the course.||
These can include:
|Food, transport and accommodation costs associated with the provision of field trips that form part of the course.||These can include:
|Fines or penalties imposed principally as a disincentive and not to raise revenue or cover administrative costs.||These can include:
Examples provided above are for guidance only and are not intended to be exhaustive. For more examples and explanations, see Appendix L.
Incentives to enrol
A non-Table A provider may not offer or provide a benefit that would likely induce a person to make a request for Commonwealth assistance in relation to enrolling in a unit of study with the provider. There is a list of benefits that are allowed to be offered by a provider, set out in section 7.5 of the HEP Guidelines [HESA subsection 19-36A (2)] which include, but are not limited to: the availability of FEE-HELP assistance, marketing merchandise up to the value of $30, and offering money in the form of scholarships or bursaries.
A provider may offer incentives for enrolment in a course, as allowed under section 7.5 of the HEP Guidelines, provided that the basis for the offer meets the fairness provisions, and that all eligible students enrolling or seeking to enrol in a course of study are treated fairly. In the case of incentives, this would generally mean the incentive must be available to all students and does not impose unfair conditions on students who take up its offer.
However, the tuition fee determined for a unit must not include fees or charges that are incidental to studies. As an example, a tablet PC offered to enrolling students would generally not be considered essential to a student’s course. Any charge for the tablet PC would be incidental to studies and could not be included in costs deferred into a FEE-HELP loan. A tablet PC would also be considered a benefit that may induce a person to request Commonwealth assistance when enrolling with the provider and is, therefore, not allowed.
18.3 - Circumstances in which a provider must not levy fees
The following examples are the kinds of goods and services for which the provider should not charge separate fees.
Examples provided above are for guidance only and are not exhaustive. For more examples and explanations, see Appendix L.
Providers can choose to deliver units of study as part of a field trip or study tour. While students can pay the provider directly for the associated food, transport and accommodation costs, which the student may acquire from a supplier other than the provider, they are clearly defined as incidental fees in the HEP Guidelines and, therefore, cannot be included in tuition fees.
18.4 - Special admissions tests
A provider that conducts a special admissions test for judging the suitability of a person seeking admission into a specialist course may charge a fee for this test. A special admissions test would be over and above normal admissions services, such as enrolling on the basis of an ATAR, for which a provider must not charge a fee.
- Specialist auditions and interviews such as those conducted by performing arts institutions/faculties.
- Tests where special expertise is required to conduct interviews and make recommendations on the suitability of applicants for admission.