Refunds

Document Currently Under Review

Current Status: Under Review - With Editor 22 May 2017

VET Student Refund Procedure

Policy Code: FN1876

Purpose

This procedure outlines the administrative processes for determining a students eligibility for a refund and subsequent payment or fee adjustment.

Scope

This procedure applies to all VET students, current applicants, or former VET students at Federation University (formerly University of Ballarat), both full fee paying and government supported students.

Legislative Context

This policy is in accord with the:

  • Higher Education Support Act 2003 
  • VET Student Loans Act 2016
  • Skills First Program - 2017 Dual Sector VET Funding Contract
  • Skills First Program - 2017 Guidelines about Fees
  • Federation University Statute 9.2 Fees & Charges (TAFE Division)

Definitions

Term Definition
Census Date The census date is the date on which a student's enrolment is finalised for a VET Student Loan or VET FEE-HELP eligible course and applicable fees and charges are incurred. Students who withdraw on or before the census date do not incur tuition fees or accumulated debt for that course.
Course Commencement Date The course commencement date in relation to this procedure is the first unit start date for the current year/enrolment period.
Full Fee Student A Full Fee Student is a student who is ineligible for a Government Supported Place (GSP) due to reasons such as citizenship, age, previous qualification, residing location, number of course enrolments or course delivery. 
Government Supported Place (GSP) A GSP is a Vocational Educational training place for which the Victorian government makes a financial contribution. Only eligible individuals can access a GSP place.
Government supported student A student enrolled in an eligible funded course. Government funded students pay a tuition fee which contributes towards the total cost of their course.                                             
Tuition Fee The enrolment fee for a course determined by the University for Domestic and International Full Fee paying students and GSP eligible students.
VET Student Loans Australian government loan program to assist eligible students enrolled in approved higher level vocational education and training (VET) courses to pay all or part of their tuition fees.
VET FEE-HELP Australian government loan program to assist eligible students studying higher level vocational education and training (VET) qualifications to pay their tuition fees.

General Principles

Certificate I - IV Courses

To be eligible for a tuition fee refund a student must complete and sign the withdrawal form which is available from the teacher or program coordinator.

If the enrolment is cancelled prior to, or up to 4 weeks after course commencement the student will be eligible for a full refund. All other fees and charges (materials, ancillary fees) will be refunded at the discretion of the program area. Students are required to discuss a withdrawal or program cancellation with the applicable program area prior to completing the withdrawal form.

Any student who does not officially withdraw in writing from their course within the specified timeframe, and have fees outstanding after the 4 week withdrawal period will continue to be liable for any outstanding tuition and material fees.

If a course is cancelled by Federation University before a student completes the requirements a full refund will apply.

VET Student Loans and VET FEE HELP Registered Courses

For all courses Diploma level and above, a full refund or credit of all tuition fees will be made if the withdrawal application is submitted on, or prior to the census date. All other fees and charges (materials, ancillary fees) will be refunded at the discretion of the Program Area.

If a signed withdrawal form is not submitted prior to census date then the student will not be eligible for a refund or adjustment to their VET Student Loans or VET-FEE HELP debt. If the student withdraws any time after the census date no tuition fee refund is applicable.

If a course is cancelled by Federation University before a student completes the requirements a full refund will apply.

Withdrawal in Exceptional Circumstances

VET Student Loans and VET FEE HELP students withdrawing after the census date, due to exceptional or extenuating circumstances, should refer to the Remission of Debt form which can be obtained from Student Administration.

GSP students or full fee students withdrawing after the 4 week withdrawal date due to exceptional or extenuation circumstances need to provide in writing their justification for a refund along with supporting documentation. Application for special consideration should be addressed to the Manager, VET Financial Operations and will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Payment of Refunds

The University will pay all refunds within 20 University working days of receiving a legible, complete and correct application, including supporting documentation if required.

Refunds will generally be paid via cheque and drawn in the student's name only. If the original payment was made by credit card directly to Federation University Australia then the refund will be paid back on to the credit card the original payment was made. Refund for other fees and charges are calculated at the discretion of the Program Area.

Unclaimed Refunds

If a refund payment remains un-presented (unclaimed) for a period of no less than six (6) months, the instrument will be cancelled and the University will re-credit the remaining funds to the student's account, less any bank charges. Students will be required to re-apply for the refund

Appeals Process

If a student believes the University has not honoured its stated fee refund policy, or not all of the relevant information has been taken into account, the student may appeal the decision through an independent dispute resolution body as advised by the University. The outcome of the appeal will be advised by letter.

If a student makes use of the University's approved dispute resolution procedures in connection with a refund, this does not limit their right to pursue other legal remedies.

Deceased Student

The personal legal representative of the Deceased Estate must apply for any excess payments which are to be refunded. The administrators must supply details about who the refund is payable to. The University reserves the right to request official documentation to support any such claims.

Bank Charges

Bank charges may be incurred by the recipient of the payment. These charges are imposed by the banking institutions and are deducted from the payment made by the University. The University has no control over such charges and therefore does not bear any responsibility for amounts deducted.

Banking Regulations

Under banking regulations, if a student had made payment with a credit card any refund must be credited to the original credit card. Federation University Australia will refund to the original credit card if the initial payment was made within the previous 12 months, otherwise the refund will be processed by cheque.

Refund Procedures (Actions)

ACTION RESPONSIBILITY COMMENTS
Withdrawal from Course or Unit Student / Faculty Representative As per the Enrolment Withdrawal (TAFE) Procedure

 

Assess Refund Application

 

Faculty Representative / Student HQ

The program area assesses the student's eligibility for a refund of material fees and records the information on the withdrawal form.

The withdrawal form is then forwarded to Student HQ.

Student HQ establish if the student is eligible for a refund of tuition fees based on the refund criteria.

Approve Refund Application  Student HQ Student HQ  will clearly detail on the withdrawal form the value of the tuition fees to be refunded or credited.

 

Process Refund

 

Student HQ

Student HQ will action all VET Student Loans and VET FEE-HELP liability refunds or credits.

Student HQ will forward the withdrawal form to Student Finance for processing.

 

Remittance of Refund

Finance

The refund will usually be processed as a cheque in the student's name within 20 University business days of the receipt of a completed withdrawal form.

Details of the refund are recorded on the Refund Request form and filed in Finance.

Responsibility

  • Manager - TAFE Financial Operations
  • Student Finance Staff
  • Student Administration Staff
  • Relevant Financial Services Staff

Associated Documents

  • VET Enrolment Withdrawal Procedure
  • Skills First Program - 2017 Guidelines about Fees

Implementation and Communication

The VET Student Refund Procedure will be communicated throughout Federation University via:

  1. an Announcement Notice under 'FedNews' on the University's website and through Federation University's Policy - 'Recently Approved Documents' webpage to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy;
  2. inclusion on the Federation University Policy, Procedure and Forms website; and/or
  3. distribution of e-mails to Head of School / Head of Department / University staff; and/or
  4. documentation distribution, eg. posters, brochures.

Records Management

Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
Application for Remission of VET Student Loans/VET FEE-HELP Debt Student Centre Manager, Student Administration 7 years
Request for Adjustment / Refund Finance Associate Director - Financial Services & Student Finance 7 years
Withdrawal Form Student Centre Manager, Student Administration 7 years

Records Disposal

University records must only be disposed of in accordance with the University's Records Disposal Process as outlined in the Records Framework Procedure. Authorisation must be obtained from the Head of School/Centre/College, Records Management Services and the Director of Academic Services or their delegate prior to disposal. Records must not be destroyed where it is known that those records may likely be required in evidence, either now or in the future