25. Domestic student tuition fees

25.1 - Tuition fee requirements

A provider must require every domestic student who is enrolled in a unit of study, who is not Commonwealth supported, and who is not an exempt student (see part 12.1), to pay a tuition fee for the unit [HESA section 169‑15(2)]. The provider may levy other charges on these students that are not considered to be fees and that are not otherwise prohibited by HESA. However, they cannot charge these students a student contribution amount for the unit [HESA section 19-102 and subsection 169‑15(2)].

The total fee for a course of study must not exceed the sum of the student’s tuition fees for all of the units undertaken by the student as part of that course [HESA section 19‑100]. That is, the fee for a course cannot include fees other than the tuition fees for the units contributing to that course (see part 18.1).

A tuition fee may include the costs of items associated with a unit of study if the items are compulsory and essential to complete the requirements of the unit of study and for which the student is only able to source the items through the provider.

25.2 - Determining tuition fees

A provider must determine one or more fees for each unit of study it offers in a year [HESA subsections 19‑90(1) and 104‑4(2)]. Providers may determine multiple tuition fees for a unit of study to apply to different categories of students.

What factors can be considered in determining tuition fees?

In determining multiple tuition fees for a unit of study, a provider may consider any matters it deems appropriate. These matters do not include the manner or timing of payment of the tuition fee by the student or the Commonwealth to the provider, such as whether students pay upfront or with HELP, with a scholarship or by partial payments [HESA subsection 19-90(2) and HEP Guidelines paragraph 5.15.1].

Example

  • A provider determines the tuition fee for Maths 010 to be $1,200 in 2012.
  • The provider determines that for students undertaking Maths 010 by distance education the tuition fee will be $1,000.

In determining multiple tuition fees, providers need to comply with the fairness provisions in HESA, which require that a provider must treat all of its students and all persons seeking to enrol fairly.

Charging and publishing tuition fees

Students must be charged the tuition fee determined by the provider that is applicable to them. The tuition fees determined by the provider must be published (see part 37.1) with sufficient information so that students are able to determine the tuition fee that applies to them.

25.3 - Minimum tuition fee requirements

HESA sets out requirements for the minimum amount that can be charged as a tuition fee. There are no requirements concerning maximum tuition fees.

Domestic fee-paying students in a unit of study must be charged an amount equal to, or more than, what Commonwealth supported students are charged for that unit. That is, for units in which Commonwealth supported students are enrolled, the tuition fee the provider sets cannot be less than the highest student contribution being paid by any Commonwealth supported student for that unit [HESA subsection 36-55(1)]. The only exception to this is where a student is enrolled in an employer-reserved place (see part 17.1) [HESA subsection 36-55(2)].

Where a provider has no Commonwealth supported students enrolled in a unit, HESA does not set a minimum amount for tuition fees for domestic students (see part 26.1).

Example

  • DEMO5011 is a unit available only on a non-award basis or to students undertaking a Graduate Diploma of Demography. Enrolment in the Graduate Diploma of Demography is available only on a fee-paying basis. Therefore, there is no minimum tuition fee for DEMO5011.

25.4 - Student withdrawal on or before the census date

A provider must repay those students who withdraw from units on or before the relevant census dates any tuition fees paid on or before those dates [HESA subsection 169-15(3)].