37. Publishing requirements

37.1 - Schedule of student contribution amounts and tuition fees

A provider must publish a schedule of student contributions and tuition fees (schedule) for all units of study that it provides or proposes to provide, on or before the earliest enrolment date for units of study, so students can access information about fees before they enrol [HESA subsection 19‑95(1) and HEP Guidelines section 5.5.1].

The schedule must contain enough information to enable a person to work out the student contribution amount and tuition fee for each unit the provider provides or proposes to provide. If more than one student contribution amount or tuition fee has been determined, the schedule must contain sufficient information to enable a person to work out which amount or fee applies to them [HESA subsection 19‑95(2) and FEE‑HELP Guidelines (for OUA) chapter 3].

A provider must ensure the schedule is available to all students and persons seeking to enrol with the provider on request and at no charge [HESA paragraph 19-95(2)(c) and FEE‑HELP Guidelines (for OUA) chapter 3].

If a provider uses a consumption model for determining the EFTSL values for postgraduate research units of study (see part 9.1), it may publish an annual tuition fee per EFTSL, which enables students to work out their tuition fee after determining the EFTSL value that applies to their particular unit of study. If a provider has non-standard EFTSL for some of its units, it will need to provide sufficient information to enable the student to calculate the student contribution that will apply to them.

Example

  • A provider sets the cost of Biology 101 at $3,000 per EFTSL. For a Bachelor of Science student, this unit contributes 0.2 EFTSL towards the student’s degree and for a Bachelor of Medicine student, it only contributes 0.125 EFTSL. Therefore, the science student will be charged $600 for the unit (0.2 x $3,000), and the medicine student will be charged $375 for the unit (0.125 x $3,000).

Giving the schedule to the Minister for Education (Minister)

Providers must publish schedules on their website on or before the earliest enrolment date for units of study, enabling students to access information about fees before they enrol [HEP Guidelines section 5.10.1].

Publishing the unit of study information on the provider’s website satisfies the requirement for submission of this information to the Minister. The department may request this information as part of student support activities at any time.

Beyond the requirement to publish the schedules on the provider’s website, there is no further requirement in relation to the format of the schedules. It is open to providers to display the information on their website in their individual style, using tables, spreadsheets, information cascades, or other web-based systems. Regardless of the format used, it must be clear to students which tuition fee applies to them.

37.2 - Schedule of student services and amenities fee

A provider that determines a student services and amenities fee must publish a schedule of fees. The schedule must include:

  • the amount of the fee
  • the date the debt is incurred
  • the period to which the fee relates; and
  • a description of the category of persons required to pay the fee, which allows someone to determine whether they are in that category [see Administration Guidelines chapter 2].

A provider must tell a student the amount of the student services and amenities fee and the day on which it is payable if the student requests this information .[hesa>

A provider must publish the information and notice respectively referred to in [HESA subparagraphs 19-37(6)(a)(i) and 19-37(6)(a)(ii)] by:

  • 1 April for a student services and amenities fee that is payable in the second half of that year (1 July to 31 December); and
  • 1 October for a student services and amenities fee that is payable in the first half of the subsequent year (1 January to 30 June).

Where a provider is making this information available only through the Internet or in other electronic formats, the provider must also give students access to an information system through which the student can access the information [Administration Guidelines chapter 2].

37.3 - Census dates and EFTSL values

A provider must, on or before the earliest enrolment date for the units of study as determined by the provider, publish on their website the census dates and EFTSL value for each unit of study it provides or proposes to provide [HESA subsection 169-25(3) and Administration Guidelines chapter 6]. EFTSL is used by the department in checking payment estimates. Providers must calculate the EFTSL value for each unit of study and report the EFTSL value as part of the FEE-HELP data submission. The EFTSL value may also be included on the student’s CAN if the provider chooses, which must be provided to students within 28 days of the census date.

A provider may publish the census dates and EFTSL values in any format it chooses. However, a provider must ensure that students can easily access the information.

Flexible enrolments

For units of study where rolling intakes or flexible enrolments are accepted, such as those offered online, the provider must clearly state the census date for each individual student. In these cases, as with units of study with fixed census dates, census dates cannot be earlier than 20 per cent of the way through the unit of study.

Examples

  • This is a 25-week online unit of study. The census date falls on day one of week 6 from the date that you started this unit of study. The census date will be listed against your unit list, in the census date column, when you start the unit.
  • All units of study in this online course are to be completed within 10 weeks. The census date for each unit of study falls on day one of week 3 from the date that you started this unit of study. You will be emailed the census date by the online system when you start the unit.

37.4 - Variations to published student services and amenities fee information

Once a provider has published its student services and amenities fee information for the period it can vary the information only in accordance with the requirements in section 2.20 of the Administration Guidelines. The amount of the fee and/or the date on which the fee is payable may be varied if:

  • the reason did not exist when originally published; or
  • to correct an administrative error.

If, in the provider’s opinion, the variation will disadvantage a student seeking to enrol or enrolled with the provider, then the variation can only be made up to two months before the period commencement date.

A provider must notify the department of its intention to vary its published unit of study information in writing at least five working days before making the variation. Notifications can be sent to the ssaf@dese.gov.au mailbox.

The provider must publish the varied fee or date payable no later than two weeks after making the variation.

37.5 - Variations to published unit of study information

Once a provider has published its unit of study information, it can vary the information only in accordance with the requirements in section 5.25 of HEP Guidelines for student contributions or tuition fees, or sections 6.20 and 6.25 of the Administration Guidelines for EFTSL and census dates, or with Ministerial approval.

Publishing the unit of study information on the provider’s website satisfies the requirement for submission of this information to the Minister. Providers should be aware that the department may request this information as part of student support activities at any time. Providers should ensure previously published fee and census date information is able to be provided to the department if requested.

Unit of study information variations without Ministerial approval

Providers are not required to notify the department of variations that do not disadvantage students. If unit of study information changes after publication, and the changes do not disadvantage students, providers must update the published information on their website as soon as practicable following the decision to make the variation.

The provisions that allow a provider to vary its published unit of study information do not mean that a provider is any less obligated to publish unit of study information for all the units that it provides or proposes to provide.

Ministerial approval will still be required for proposed variations that will disadvantage students. More information is given about this below.

Schedule variations without Ministerial approval

A provider may only change a published schedule of tuition fees if the change does not disadvantage students and:

  • is necessary due to circumstances that did not apply at the time the provider determines the tuition fee or census date; or
  • is to correct an administrative error.

A provider does not need to notify the department of variations that do not disadvantage students. If unit of study information changes after publication, and the changes do not disadvantage students, providers must update the published information on their website as soon as practicable following the decision to make the variation [see HEP Guidelines section 5.25 and Administration Guidelines section 6.20].

Schedule variations with Ministerial approval

Ministerial approval is required for proposed variations that will disadvantage students, such as increased fees or bringing the published census date forward in time.

A provider may request approval to make these types of variations by uploading a request into HITS. Refer to ‘Uploading a Document’ in the HITS User Guide for further information:

The request must include all the following:

  • the name of the affected unit of study and unit of study code
  • the course of which the unit of study forms part
  • the change being made
  • details of when the provider first became aware of the need to change
  • the commencement date for the unit of study
  • the end date for the unit of study
  • the current census date for the unit of study
  • the last day a person may enrol in the unit of study without incurring a penalty
  • the number of students who are eligible for FEE-HELP and enrolled in the unit of study
  • whether the students have been advised of the possible variation; and
  • why the Minister should approve the request.

The Minister will give written advice of the decision. Providers are not required to submit varied schedules to the department or upload them into HITS.

Circumstances where students may be disadvantaged

In varying its unit of study information, a provider must determine whether students will be disadvantaged by the variation. The circumstances where students will be disadvantaged include, but are not limited to, being subject to a higher student contribution amount or tuition fee, lower EFTSL value or earlier census date. Providers must consider whether it is reasonable to think that students will be disadvantaged in any other way.

37.6 - Revoking pre-2006 determinations with regard to student cohorts

Prior to November 2006, providers could establish student cohorts and set different student contribution amounts and tuition fees for students in those cohorts. The Higher Education Legislation Amendment (2006 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2006 repealed the provisions in HESA that allowed providers to establish such cohorts. Savings provisions were included in the amendments to preserve conditions relating to existing student cohorts. This means that where a provider has such a student cohort, it continues to operate under the previous provisions unless it is revoked. For further information on student cohorts, see Appendix I.

Providers must publish information on the student cohort’s student contribution amount and/or tuition fee and other conditions and make it publicly available on or before the earliest enrolment date in the cohort’s course of study. This published information is referred to as the saved determination. Saved determinations on student cohorts can be revoked as set out in the next section.

37.7 - Revoking a saved determination without Ministerial approval

In certain circumstances, a provider may revoke a saved determination relating to a student cohort, without Ministerial approval, up to two months before the earlier of:

  • the date of commencement of the next unit of study, the next unit, to which the saved determination would otherwise apply; and
  • the latest date that a student can enrol in the next unit without incurring a late enrolment fee.

All of the following circumstances must prevail for a provider to revoke a saved determination without Ministerial approval:

  • the provider has advised the department as soon as practicable, in writing via the HEenquiries@dese.gov.au mailbox, of its intention to revoke the saved determination; and
  • the provider has notified the students who are in the cohort of the provider’s intention to revoke the saved determination [HESA note 2 Table A sub-items 13 and 14 and HEP Guidelines 2012 chapter 5].

37.8 - Revoking a saved determination with Ministerial approval

Where a provider wishes to revoke a saved determination, but does not meet the circumstances and the timeframes outlined in part 37.7, they may only do so with the written approval of the Minister [HESA note 2 Table A Schedule 3 items 13 and 14].

A provider can seek the Minister’s approval to revoke a saved determination by submitting a request to the department by emailing Heenquiries@dese.gov.au mailbox. This request should indicate:

  • that the provider requests to revoke the saved determination with the Minister’s approval
  • details of the student cohort that will be affected by the revocation, including when the cohort commenced and any applicable conditions
  • the units that will be affected by the proposed revocation
  • the number of students affected
  • the nature of the change to the student contribution amounts and tuition fees for the next unit of study to which the saved determination would otherwise apply
  • why the revocation did not take place within the circumstances and timeframes allowed
  • why it would be reasonable for the Minister to approve the request for revocation of the saved determination
  • a contact name for further information about the proposed revocation; and
  • to whom the outcome of the request should be sent.

The department will contact the provider as soon as a decision has been made. If the Minister, or the Minister’s delegate, gives written approval to vary unit of study information, the notice of approval will indicate the date by which, and the manner in which, the revocation must be published by the provider.

37.9 - Student contribution amount or tuition fee after a saved determination is revoked

After a saved determination in relation to a student cohort is revoked, the student contribution amount or tuition fee that will apply to each of the students who was in the cohort is the amount that the provider has determined for places in the unit of study.