Re-Crediting a Fee-Help Balance

Introduction

Careers Australia Education Institute Pty Ltd (referred to as “the Institute”) will conduct this procedure in compliance with Schedule 1A of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 and the VET Provider Guidelines for student’s with VET Fee Help loans (VFH) and in compliance with VET Student Loans Act and the VET Student Loans Rules 2016 for VET Student Loan (VSL) recipients.

The Institute will:

  • set a census date for each VET unit of study that is no earlier than 20% of the way through the VET unit of study;
  • ensure that all students are informed of the census date for each VET unit of study in the manner and by the date prescribed in the VET Administration Guidelines or VET Student Loan Rules 2016;
  • ensure that all students are informed of the review procedures for the re-crediting of a FEE-HELP balance.

If a student who has requested VFH or VSL assistance withdraws from a VET unit of study on or before the census date for that VET unit of study, the student will not incur a VFH or VSL debt for that VET unit of study.

If a student who has requested VFH or VSL assistance withdraws from a VET unit of study after the census date for that VET unit of study, the student will incur a VFH or VSL debt for that VET unit of study.

A student who has incurred a VFH or VSL debt for a VET unit of study may apply to have their FEE-HELP balance re-credited for the affected VET units of study in accordance with the following procedure.

Special Circumstances

If a student withdraws from a VET unit of study on or after the census date, or has been unable to successfully complete a VET unit of study, and believes this was due to special circumstances then the student may apply to have their FEE-HELP balance re-credited for the affected VET units of study.

The Institute will re-credit the student’s FEE-HELP balance if it is satisfied that special circumstances apply that:

  • are beyond the student’s control; and
  • did not make their full impact on the student until on or after the census date for the VET unit of study in question; and
  • make it impracticable for the student to complete the requirements for the VET unit(s) of study in question.

The Institute will be satisfied that a student’s circumstances are beyond the student’s 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 student is not responsible. The situation must be unusual, uncommon or abnormal.

Each application will be examined and determined on its merits by considering a student’s claim together with independent supporting documentation substantiating the claim.

Initial applications for the re-crediting of a student’s FEE-HELP balance are to be made, in writing, to the National Manager – VET Student Loans.

The contact details for the National Manager – VFH and VSL are:

Ms Beth Collins

National Manager – VET Student Loans

Phone: 1300 131 231

PO Box 3212, Newstead QLD 4006

Email: VFHrecreditrequests@careersaustralia.edu.au

The procedure for the re-crediting of a FEE-HELP balance is as follows:

when a student withdraws from a VET unit of study, the Institute shall confirm the withdrawal by giving notice to the student in writing stating the date at which the withdrawal has taken effect;

  • when a student fails to meet the requirements of a VET unit of study, the Institute shall confirm the failure by giving notice to the student in writing of the final result for that VET unit of study after results for that VET unit of study have been formally approved;
  • The student must apply in writing to the National Manager – VET Student Loans within 12 months from the date specified in the notice as the day of withdrawal or the date of receiving their final results for the VET unit of study. The Institute may exercise its discretion to waive this requirement if in its opinion it was not possible for the application to be made before the end of the 12 month period;
  • The National Manager – VET Student Loans shall advise the student of the outcome of the application within 28 days stating the reasons for the decision;
  • The National Manager – VET Student Loans shall also advise the student of their rights for a review of the decision if they are not satisfied with its outcome.

The National Manager – VET Student Loans will consider the application and will agree to such requests if they are satisfied that there were special circumstances in the student’s case. If a decision is made to re-credit the student’s FEE-HELP balance, the Institute will notify the Department of Education and will repay to the Commonwealth any VFH or VSL assistance received on the student’s behalf and the student’s VFH or VSL debt for those VET units of study will be removed.

Review of Decision

If a student is not satisfied with the decision made by the National Manager – VET Student Loans in relation to re-crediting their FEE-HELP balance they may request a review of the decision.

The review shall be carried out by the Review Officer who is senior to the original decision maker.

Any such request must be submitted to the Review Officer in writing and:

  • must be lodged within 28 days of receiving notice of the original decision, unless the Review Officer allows a longer period; and
  • must specify the reasons for making the request. The contact details for the Review Officer are:

Mr Steven Platz

Executive General Manager, Student Systems & Administration

Phone: 1300 131 231

PO Box 3212, Newstead QLD 4006

Email: VFHrecreditappeals@careersaustralia.edu.au

The Review Officer shall acknowledge receipt of an application for a review of the refusal to re-credit a FEE-HELP balance in writing. This notice shall also advise the applicant that they have the right to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision and will provide the contact details of the closest Administrative Appeals Tribunal Registry and the approximate costs of lodging an appeal.

The Review Officer shall:

  • seek all relevant information from the person who made the original decision;
  • review the case within 3 weeks and advise the student of the decision in writing giving the reasons for the reviewer’s decision.

The Review Officer may:

  • confirm the original decision;
  • vary the original decision; or
  • set the original decision aside and substitute a new decision;

The Review Officer will give written notice of the decision setting out the reasons for the decision. The applicant shall also be advised in the decision of the right to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision; and be provided with the contact details of the closest Administrative Appeals Tribunal Registry and the approximate costs of lodging an appeal as follows:

If you wish to further appeal this decision you may lodge an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The current fee to lodge an application with the AAT for the review of a decision is $884 (GST exempt) for 2017.

The contact details for the AAT are:

Australian State

Address

Phone Number

Queensland

Level 4, Harry Gibbs Building, Commonwealth Law Courts, 119 North Quay,

Brisbane QLD 4000

(07) 3361 3000

South Australia

11th Floor, Chesser House, 91 Grenfell Street,

Adelaide SA 5000

(08) 8201 0600

New South Wales

Level 7, City Centre Tower, 55 Market Street,

Sydney NSW 2000

(02) 9391 2400

Victoria

Level 16, HWT Tower, Southgate, 40 City Road,

Southbank VIC 3006

(03) 9282 8444

Western Australia

Level 5,

111 St Georges Terrace,

Perth WA 6000

(08) 9327 7200

ACT

4th Floor, Canberra House, 40 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra City ACT 2600

(02) 6243 4611

Northern Territory (handled in QLD)

Level 4, Harry Gibbs Building, Commonwealth Law Courts, 119 North Quay,

Brisbane QLD 4000

(07) 3361 3000

Tasmania

Ground Floor, Edward Braddon Building, Commonwealth Law Courts,

39-41 Davey Street,

Hobart TAS 7000

(03) 6232 1712

Where a student is dissatisfied with the reviewed decision they may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for consideration of the Institute’s decision to refuse to re-credit their FEE-HELP balance. The student may supply additional information to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal which they did not previously supply to the Institute either in the original application or the request for review.

The Secretary of Department of Education, or the Secretary’s delegate, will be the respondent for cases that are brought before the AAT. Upon DoE receipt of a notification from the AAT, DoE will notify the Institute that an appeal has been lodged. Upon receipt of this notification from DoE, the Review Officer will provide DoE with copies of all the documents they hold that are relevant to the appeal within five (5) business days.

Circumstances when a VET Student Loan student may apply to the Secretary for the FEE-HELP balance to be re-credited are when:

(i) Careers Australia, or a person acting on Careers Australia’s behalf, engaged in unacceptable conduct in relation to the student’s application for the VET student loan; or

(ii) Careers Australia has failed to comply with the Act or related legislation and the failure has adversely affected the student;

To apply under these circumstances the application must be made within 5 years after the census day for the course, or the part of the course, concerned, or within that period as extended by the Secretary;

The re-credit by the Secretary may granted in relation to special circumstances if Careers Australia:

(i) is unable to act or is being wound up or has been dissolved; or

(ii) has failed to act and the Secretary is satisfied that the failure is unreasonable.

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