Fee Remission (Special Circumstances)

Commonwealth Government Legislation (The Higher Education Support Act 2003) stipulates that under special circumstances students may apply for remission of HELP debt, FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP, student contribution amounts and tuition fees after the relevant census date. There can be no refund of the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).

This page tells you how to apply for Fee Remission (refund, remission or re-credit - whichever is applicable) from a course after the census date. 

Conditions

  • You cannot apply for a re-credit, remission or a refund if you have successfully completed the course.
  • You must apply within 12 months of withdrawing from the course or in the event that you did not withdraw, within 12 months of the end of the teaching period in which the course was undertaken.
  • Applications submitted outside the 12 month timeframe will not be considered unless you can clearly demonstrate that it was not possible for you to submit your application within the relevant 12 month period.

International students on a Student Visa

There are visa implications for reducing your enrolment or withdrawing from your program. Before you withdraw from a course or your program please read this important advice for student visa holders

Scholarship holders

It is a condition of your scholarship that you notify the Scholarships Office of any change to your enrolment. If you are advised that your application was successful, please contact the Scholarships Office via scholarships@unsw.edu.au

What are Special Circumstances?

Special Circumstances are

  • Beyond your control and
  • Did not make their full impact on you until on or after the census date and
  • Made it impracticable for you to complete the requirements for the course in the period during which you undertook or were to undertake the course.

Special circumstances do not include a lack of knowledge or understanding of requirements under the schemes or your incapacity to repay a HELP debt.

Circumstances are beyond your control if a situation occurs that a reasonable person would consider is not due to the person’s action or inaction, either direct or indirect, and for which the person is not responsible.  This situation must be unusual, uncommon or abnormal.

Circumstances do not make their full impact on you until on or after the census date if your circumstances occur before the census date but worsen after that day, occur before the census date but the full effect does not become apparent until the census day or occurs only after the census date.

Circumstances which made it impracticable for you to complete the requirements for the course may include (but are not limited to):

  • Medical circumstances
  • Family/personal circumstances
  • Employment related circumstances
  • Course related circumstances

How to apply

Apply as soon as possible after the problem occurs.

You must apply within 12 months of withdrawing from the course or in the event that you did not withdraw, within 12 months of the end of the teaching period in which the course was undertaken.

Applications submitted outside the 12 month timeframe will not be considered unless you can clearly demonstrate that it was not possible for you to submit your application within the relevant 12 month period.

  1. Complete a Fee Remission Application (PDF 74KB, 4 pages) also available from Student Central.
  2. Provide supporting documentation.
  3. Have the form completed and signed by the relevant Course Authority.
  4. Submit the form in person at Student Central or by mail to Student Administration, Chancellery Building, Lower Ground Fl, UNSW, 2052. Your Course Authority or Faculty may also submit this form on your behalf.

What supporting documentation do I include?

Wherever possible, provide independent supporting documentation to support your claims. 

Please be aware that if you provide falsified documents in support of your application, then this will result in one of a range of penalties, from failure in the course to suspension or exclusion.  In some cases, the matter could also be reported to ICAC. As a student, you must be aware of your obligations and responsibilities under the Student Code which can be found here: https://student.unsw.edu.au/conduct.


 

For medical reasons, submit a letter/statement from your medical practitioner which indicates the date your condition began and/or changed, how your condition affected your ability to study and when (the date) it became apparent that you could not continue with your studies. You should inform your doctor that the statement will be sent to UNSW in support of your application.

For family/personal reasons, submit a statement from a doctor, counsellor or independent member of the community (Justice of the Peace or Minister of Religion) stating the date your personal circumstances began and/or changed, how your circumstances affected your ability to study and when (the date) it became apparent that you could not continue with your studies.

For employment related circumstances, submit a letter from your employer which states your previous work hours and location, your current work hours and location, the reason for the change, when the change was effective from and when it was communicated to you.

For course related circumstances, submit a statement from your Course Authority outlining your circumstances.

How is my application assessed?

Your application together with all supporting documentation provided and in consultation with your Course and Program Authorities, is assessed against the published criteria.

Be aware that the University may contact any professional authority who has supported your application, to verify any information they have provided.

You will be notified of the outcome of your application within 28 days of your completed application being received by the appropriate administrative office (Student Administration, GRS, ADFA).

If your application is unsuccessful and you are able to provide new or additional information/documentation in support of your application, that information/documentation should be submitted within 14 days of receiving notification of the outcome of your original application(s). New information will be considered alongside the original application and a re-assessment of your application will be made.

What outcomes can I expect?

Submitting an application for fee remission does not mean that it will be granted automatically.

Possible outcomes are:

  • No action. You did not clearly demonstrate that your circumstances satisfied all of the criteria. Your enrolment in the course remains, and whatever result you obtain in the course at the end of session will stand.
  • Permitted Withdrawal. You clearly demonstrated that your circumstances satisfied all of the criteria and your application has been approved.  The Course(s) will appear on your transcript with a grade of PW (Permitted Withdrawal) and the fee will be re-credited, remitted or refunded (whichever is applicable). The PW grade does not carry a mark and therefore will not be included in the calculation of your WAM. The PW grade will be counted as a course attempted but not passed when calculating your academic standing.

Please note that approval for fee remission does not include the Student Services Amenities Fee (SSAF) as your liability for this fee is based on your enrolled subject load as at the relevant census date.  

You will usually be advised of the outcome of your application within 28 days of submission.  If there is a delay in processing your application, you will be advised of the reason for the delay within 28 days of the submission of your application.  All communication will be via your student email account.  If appropriate, the University will advise the relevant Commonwealth Government Authority of the outcome of your application.

Can I appeal if my application is not successful?

Yes.  If your application is not successful, you have the right to appeal.  You must make your appeal in writing by email to studentadministration@unsw.edu.auwith the words 'Fee Remission Appeal' in the subject line, within 28 days of receiving notification of the outcome of your application(s).  Your appeal will be considered and (in most cases) you will be notified of the outcome in writing within 28 days of your appeal being received.

Commonwealth Supported Students (CSP and FEE-HELP)

You have the right to have your case reconsidered by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). You must appeal to the AAT within 28 days of receiving the outcome of your appeal. UNSW will forward all documents relating to your case to the AAT and if you have additional relevant documentation not already provided to UNSW, please also include that in your appeal to the AAT. For further information go to http://www.aat.gov.au/

Further advice

For further advice and/or information contact Student Central.