I. Student cohorts

A student cohort includes all students who commenced a course of study in a particular year. Under arrangements applying under HESA until November 2006, providers could establish student cohorts and specify different student contribution amounts and/or tuition fees to apply to the students in the cohort. Providers were required to set contributions or fees for all years the cohort would operate in the year prior to the cohort beginning. The provider had to publish this information on or before the earliest enrolment date in the cohort’s course of study.

The amendments to HESA in the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (2006 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2006 increased flexibility for providers in the setting of student contributions and tuition fees and repealed the provisions relating to student cohorts, effective on 4 November 2006. Savings provisions were included in the amendments to preserve conditions relating to existing student cohorts. This means that where a provider has a student cohort, it continues to operate under the previous provisions unless it is revoked.

If a provider wishes to utilise the current fee flexibility measures for determining different prices, the saved determination in relation to the student cohort must be revoked.

Preserving student cohorts

If a student cohort was established prior to 4 November 2006, and the provider determined a different student contribution amount or tuition fee for the student cohort, this is referred to as the saved determination. The student contribution amount or tuition fee for the unit will continue to be as specified in the saved determination. The student cohort’s student contribution amount or tuition fee will continue to apply where:

  • the person is in the student cohort to which the saved determination relates
  • the saved determination has not been revoked
  • the unit forms part of a course of study with the provider who made the saved determination
  • the person is undertaking the unit with the provider; and
  • the person satisfies any conditions that apply to the cohort under the saved determination [HESA note 2 Table A sub-items 13 and 14].

Conditions applying to student cohorts

Student cohorts are subject to the student contribution amounts, tuition fees and conditions determined and published on or before the earliest enrolment date in the cohort’s course of study.

The student contribution amount or tuition fee that continues to apply to the student cohort is the amount determined and published on or before the earliest enrolment date in the cohort’s course of study. This amount must be the same for all students in that student cohort.

The saved determination applies for the duration of the cohort’s course of study, subject to any limit on the time for which the cohort amount applies and subject to revocation of the student cohort.

The same unit offered over different time periods may have different student contribution amounts or tuition fees, but only if this was specified and published on or before the earliest enrolment date in the cohort’s course of study.

Example

  • If a provider specified the tuition fee (or student contribution amount) for Maths 101 was $5,000, this would apply for the duration of the course, subject to any time limit.
  • However, the provider could have specified the tuition fee (or student contribution amount) for Maths 101 (2006) was $5,000 and for Maths 101 (2007) was $5,100.

The student contribution amounts or tuition fees specified for the student cohort continue to apply for the period of time that was determined and published by the provider on or before the earliest enrolment date in the cohort’s course of study.

A provider was only allowed to have determined conditions related to the period of time for which the cohort amount is to apply, and cannot have set other conditions, such as those relating to campus location or equity groups, to further limit access to a cohort amount [HEP Guidelines chapter 7 before repeal. See Version 3, registered 27/11/06].

Publishing student cohort information

Providers that established different student contribution amounts or tuition fees for cohorts of students prior to the repeal of the cohorts’ sections in HESA, must have published and made publicly available:

  • sufficient information to enable a student to work out their student contribution and/or tuition fee for a unit of study that is part of their cohort’s course of study; and
  • any conditions that are to apply in relation to that cohort.

This information must have been published and made available on or before the earliest enrolment date in the cohort’s course of study.

A provider cannot vary its published student cohort information.