Student Access, Progression and Wellbeing

Student Access, Progression and Wellbeing Policy

Policy code: SS1965
Policy owner: Dean of Students and Registrar
Approval authority: Academic Board
Approval date: 04 January 2016
Next review date: 15 February 2022


Federation University Australia seeks to provide a learning and working environment that promotes and values diversity and offers equality of access and opportunity to all.

This policy governs a range of associated University procedures, developed to reduce the impact of a student's personal situation or serious health condition which genuinely and significantly affects their capacity to study or demonstrate their abilities. The policy also aims to provide a transparent and equitable set of principles that describe the University’s approach to supporting student to maintain satisfactory academic progress.

While students have the primary responsibility for maintaining their own health and wellbeing, this policy provides a framework through its associated procedures to enable eligible students to either:

  • Progress successfully through their studies without compromising academic integrity or inherent requirements of the program, or
  • Access an appropriate deferment, leave or withdrawal option to suit their specific circumstances.

For structure see attached form below



This policy applies to all Vocational Education and Training (VET), undergraduate, post-graduate and Higher Degree Research students of Federation University Australia, domestic and international including those offered through third party providers.

Nothing contained in this policy, nor its supporting procedures, is intended to alter or limit the full extent of the University's right to suspend or exclude a student at its discretion, subject to relevant legislative and/or regulatory requirements.

Legislative Context

  • Federation University Australia Act 2010
  • Statute 5.2 Entry Quotas, Admissions and Enrolments
  • Statute 5.3 Assessment The Schedule Part 1
  • Statute 5.4 Exclusion for Reasons of Unfitness
  • Statute 5.6 Admission to Academic Awards
  • Disability Discrimination Act (1992)
  • Disability Standards for Education (2005)
  • Privacy Act (1988)
  • Educational Services to Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 (as amended), Educational Services to Overseas Students (ESOS) Regulations 2001 and National Code of Practice 2007
  • Victorian Equal Opportunity Act 2010


Term Definition
Academic Integrity Acting with the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility in learning, teaching and research (source: UniSA -EAIP)
Active Participation

In learning, this can include but is not limited to:

  • Formal classroom or online discussion
  • Workshops, artistic performances, practical sessions or field trips
  • Small group discussions or written exercises
  • Class presentations, laboratory work, role plays, blogs, wikis and webinars
  • Reflecting on, critiquing, or commenting on content or presentations provided by staff or other students

Attendance alone is not normally regarded as active participation

Assessment (Higher Education) The process of collecting evidence and making judgements on whether an agreed outcome for that assessment task has been achieved
Assessment (VET) The process of collecting evidence and making judgements on whether competency has been achieved, to confirm that an individual can perform to the standard required in the workplace, as specified in a training package or VET accredited course.
Assessment Task A specific, discrete learning activity or exercise designed to obtain evidence about whether a student has achieved the published learning outcomes of a course. Tasks can be formative or summative, including essays, presentations, performance, exhibition or final examination

Cheating is any act through which a student attempts to gain an unfair advantage in admission to or the assessment process for a course. Cheating may include, but is not limited to:

  • Presenting untrue medical/special consideration forms
  • Plagiarism
  • Resubmitting or largely reusing previously assessed work as new work
  • Fabrication of falsification of data and/or results
  • Presenting work, which is the outcome of directly working with others, as their own (collusion), without the other’s knowledge
  • Allowing another person to complete an assessment or examination on behalf of a student
  • Accessing/obtaining an advance copy of an examination paper unless otherwise authorised, eg a ‘seen’ paper
  • Communicating with or copying from, another person/s during an examination
  • Bringing into, or receiving during an examination, unauthorised material/information
  • Knowingly helping others to cheat, and/or

Taking actions which intrude on the ability of others to complete their assessment tasks

Competency The consistent application of knowledge and skill to the standard of performance required in the workplace. It embodies the ability to transfer and apply skills and knowledge to new situations.
Compassionate Grounds

Death, loss or serious injury/medical condition of a significant other that impacts on a student’s ability to prepare for, attend, present, undertake, and/or complete work or assessments including but not limited to:

  • Death of a significant other (family member, close friend)
  • Family or relationship breakdown, or severe disruption to domestic arrangements
  • Loss of accommodation or serious financial difficulty
Course A subsidiary element of a program
Course Coordinator An academic with overall responsibility for the design, delivery and assessment of a Higher Education course of study
Course Description A brief description of the course including objectives, content and assessment. Not applicable to VET (see unit outline)
Deferment (Deferral) All commencing students who have been given a formal written offer by the University and who have not yet enrolled will have the option to defer for one teaching period (6 months) to a maximum of two teaching periods (12 months). Not applicable to VET Programs.
Deferment of Assessment An application for deferment of an assessment can only be made in exceptional circumstances. A student may not normally apply to have an examination deferred more than once in a particular course in a given teaching period. In exceptional circumstances, students may defer assessment for up to 3 months (receive an AD grade), or between 3 to 12 months (receive a TD grade). This may impact on the students ability to enrol in prerequisite subjects. Not applicable to VET courses.
Delegate A person chosen, by the Dean or Education Manager, to act or represent them when assessing applications for special consideration.
Disability [as defined by the Disability Standards for Education (2005)]

In relation to a person, means:

  • Total or partial loss of the person’s bodily or mental functions; or
  • Total or partial loss of a part of the body; or
  • The presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness; or
  • The presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness; or
  • The malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person’s body; or
  • A disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction; or
  • A disorder, illness or disease that affects a person’s thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement or that results in disturbed behaviour; and includes a disability that:
    • Presently exists; or
    • Previously existed but no longer exists; or
    • May exist in the future; or
    • Is imputed to a person
Disability & Learning Access Officer (DLAO)

Disability & Learning Access Officers work within the Disability & Learning Access Unit (DLAU) and their role includes:

  • Negotiate tailored services to meet the individual needs of students with a disability
  • Participate in policy development in relation to the University’s obligations under anti-discrimination legislation
  • Raise community awareness about disability and access issues
  • Ensure that the academic standards and inherent requirements of a program or course are not compromised
Disability & Learning Access Unit (DLAU) The DLAU provides services to students with disabilities within the University’s equity framework and in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and the Disability Standards for Education (2005). The DLAU works to support the development of learning and working environments that maximise participation in University life by students with a disability
Discretionary Assessment Extension A short assessment extension of up to five (5) University working days for one assessment and granted at the discretion of the tutor, lecturer or course coordinator (dependent on school process) upon request by the student.
Elite Athlete or Coach

A person who participates in, or coaches, sport at the level of national or international competition.

For athletes or coaches to access the supported elite athlete friendly university program, they must be recognized as an elite athlete or coach by one of the following:

  • Australian Institute of Sport (AIS);
  • State Institute or Academy of Sport (e.g., VIS);
  • AFL Players’ Association;
  • AFL Coaches Association;
  • Australian Cricketers’ Association;
  • Rugby Union Players’ Association;
  • Rugby League Professionals Association;
  • Australian Professional Footballers’ Association;
  • Tennis players who are members of the ATP or WTA or who are eligible to compete in the ITF Pro Circuit, Australian Pro Tour or have a valid International Player Identification Number.
  • Alternatively, they must be a national coach or squad member from Australian Sports Commission funded sports or participating professional sports.

If an athlete is not recognized by one the above, they must submit a request to be considered an elite athlete. In these cases, the Disability and Learning Access Unit staff will contact the Australian Sports Commission, who will be asked to investigate, verify and make a recommendation to the University as to the applicant’s elite athlete status.

Elite Performer

A person who participates in significant state, national or international performances, productions, installations, competitions or events.

For performers to access the supported elite performers friendly university program, they must demonstrate their endorsement by a State, National or International level performance organization in one or more of the following fields:

  • Art;
  • Culture;
  • Orchestra;
  • Opera;
  • Music;
  • Dance;
  • Theatre;
  • Film; or
  • Television.

If a performer cannot demonstrate their endorsement by State, National or International level performance organizations, they may submit a request to be considered an elite performer on the basis of having:

  • Achieved significant success in a major artistic performing arts competition (outside of the applicants VCE/High School curriculum);
  • Undertaken a major role in commercial arts production as a performer and/or producer outside of their University course requirements;
  • Contracted with a major commercial music label or producer or equivalent commercial partner in any of the above fields; or
  • Achieved significant success as an independent artist/producer with a documented track record in any of the fields listed above.
Examination Any assessment task (written or practical) or other written paper that is timetabled within an examination period and that forms part of the final results in a course or program
School Federation University Australia has a number of Academic Organisational Units – click here for details
Final Course Supplementary Assessments (FCSA) Students who receive an MF grade in their final Semester may apply to the Program Coordinator within 7 days of the publication of results for supplementary assessment if that course is the only outstanding course required to complete the degree and the student has not been found guilty of any form of academic misconduct (eg plagiarism, contract cheating, collusion) in that Semester. The highest grade attainable will be a Pass grade.
Flexible Study Options

In the context of the Elite Athlete Friendly University Program, flexible study options include:

Assessment related needs:

  • Ability to negotiate assessment deadlines based on sporting related travel commitments
  • Ability to sit exams externally under exam conditions, within the athlete’s environment (e.g. whilst travelling, in their hotel, at their club, etc)
  • The minimum attendance at lectures, tutorials or practicals waived where student-athlete unavailable due to sporting commitments

Enrolment related needs:

  • Ability to tailor academic study load to integrate with sporting commitments, available for first year students as well;
  • Ability to negotiate lecture, tutorial and practical timetables to accommodate sporting commitments;
  • Ability to extend minimum time to complete course due to periods of decreased study load;
  • Ability to take several leaves of absence where required due to increased sporting commitments (e.g. Olympic Games year);
  • Ability to complete cross institutional study options with interstate universities, and flexibility within this policy provided for student athletes (e.g. first year student’s eligible, increase number of subjects able to be completed by cross institutional study;
  • Provision of summer study alternatives and/or ability to swap between distance education mode and on campus mode, depending on sporting commitments;
  • Recognition of credit achieved at interstate universities

Course related needs:

Access to distance education materials, and/or class notes for missed lectures, tutorials or practicals.

Hardship or trauma

Event(s) or circumstance(s) that significantly impact(s) on a student’s ability to prepare for, attend, present, undertake, and/or complete work or assessments including but not limited to:

  • Recent victim of crime
  • Sudden loss of income or employment
  • Severe disruption to domestic arrangements
Health Care Professional

A Health Care Professional is an experienced practitioner in their specific area of human health. Health Care Professions which are eligible to complete the Health Care Professional Certification form include, but not limited to:

  • AHPRA registered General Practitioners (GP’s)
  • AHPRA registered Psychiatrists
  • AHPRA registered Psychologists
  • University or Partner Provider Institution Counselling staff
  • Other AHPRA registered health care professionals
  • Health Care Professions which are not eligible to complete the Health Care Professional Certification form include:
  • AHPRA Pharmacists
Learning Access Plan (LAP)

A Learning Access Plan is a formal document that assists a student with a disability to communicate their negotiated reasonable adjustments and/or other supports with schools within the University.

The LAP outlines:

  • How the medical condition, mental health condition, or disability impacts on a student’s ability to participate in education
  • The student's own strategies to address these impacts
  • The adjustments required within the student’s academic program
  • In-class adjustments
  • Examination adjustments
  • Placement or off-campus activity adjustments
  • Other services required
Leave from study University approved periods of either six or twelve months, covering the normal teaching period/s, when an enrolled student is formally excused from formal study. Not applicable to VET courses.
Medical reasons

Illness or injury that significantly impacts on a student’s ability to prepare for, attend, present, undertake, and/or complete work or assessments including but not limited to:

  • Hospital admission
  • Serious injury
  • Debilitating illness
  • Significant anxiety, depression, and/or other mental illness
Other significant cause

Other issues outside of hardship/trauma, loss or bereavement, and medical reasons that significantly impacts on a student’s ability to prepare for, present to, undertake, and/or complete work or assessments including but not limited to:

  • Life threatening illness to significant other
  • Significant and unexpected carer duties
Partner Provider An approved educational institution that delivers university programs/courses as part of an agreement
Program Study/research leading to the granting of an official University award or qualification – refer Schedule
Program Coordinator Person responsible for the overall management of a program or range of programs
Progression Maintaining a satisfactory level of academic performance to be permitted to advance through a program as specified by the program requirements.
Published Assessment Criteria The criteria against which a student's performance in the course will be judged, made available in writing to students within the Course Description. The intent is to provide students with a clear and explicit understanding of the standards they are expected to achieve relative to marks awarded. Assessment criteria provide a common reference point on which academic judgement can be based, promoting consistency in marking
Published Learning Outcomes Learning outcomes that are provided to students in the Course Description which is based on the Course Outline prior to the start of teaching
Reasonable adjustments

Measures and adaptions put in place for students with a disability to facilitate the participation in Course and Program on the same basis as students without a disability while ensuring that academic standards and inherent requirements of the Course and Program are not compromised

Reasonable adjustments as a result of a disability, and outlined in a Learning Access Plan are relevant for the duration of the Learning Access Plan. Students with a disability can re-negotiate, update or cancel adjustments and/or supports at any stage

Satisfactory Progress Satisfactory completion of the academic merit or skill based competency requirements as per course or unit guidelines
Serious health condition A health condition, including medical conditions, mental health conditions or disability that adversely impacts on a student’s capacity to successfully complete an assessment, progress in a program or results in repeated behaviour that adversely impacts on other students or staff
Severity of Impact This relates to the impact of a condition or circumstance as assessed on the Health Care Professional Certification form
Special circumstances May include medical, family/personal, employment-related or course-related reasons – also refer Special consideration
Special consideration – Deferred Examination

Acknowledgement by the Dean or delegate that a student has experienced or encountered some form of disadvantage or impediment that has prevented them from undertaking or completing an examination during the timetabled examination period. The University will schedule the deferred examination in the timetabled deferred examination period.

Students will not be able to apply for grade consideration; however, in unique circumstances, a school can elect to apply grade consideration principles to an examination if there is enough evidence to make an appropriate consideration, and only with the authorisation of the Dean.

Special consideration - General

Acknowledgement by the Dean (Higher Ed.), Education Manager (VET) or delegate that a student has experienced or encountered some form of disadvantage or impediment that has prevented them from performing on their merits in an assessment task/s. In such circumstances, the particular disadvantage or impediment will be taken into account when assessing the student’s work. To enable the student to demonstrate their achievement of the course learning outcomes, they may be granted a supplementary assessment, an extension of an assessment due-date or altered attendance requirements. Such allowances may be made for one or more assessment tasks or courses within any teaching semester. Grounds for a student to submit an application for Special Consideration include medical reasons, compassionate grounds, hardship/trauma, or other significant cause.

Students will not be able to apply for grade consideration; however, in unique circumstances, a school can elect to apply grade consideration principles to an assessment if there is enough evidence to make an appropriate consideration, and only with the authorisation of the Dean. Grade consideration is not applicable to VET

Student Any person admitted to the University in a Course or Program
Supplementary assessment Any assessment that is required of a student in addition to the assessment tasks stipulated in the Course Outline and authorised by a Dean or delegate. Not applicable to VET courses
Supporting Documentation

Formal documentation submitted to support applications of special consideration can include one or more of the following:

  • The Health Care Professional Certification form;
  • A medical certificate (bearing the Provider/Licence/ Registration number and Official Stamp), stating in reasonable detail:
    • The dates of any relevant consultations or attendances;
    • If relevant, the nature of the complaint and the treatment; and
    • A specific statement that in the health care professional’s opinion (not the student’s opinion) that, as a result of the complaint or treatment, the student is impacted or unfit or unable to undertake the assessment or examination
  • A death notice certificate;
  • A police report;
  • Notification including the start and finish dates of:
    • Defence Reserve Service from the Defence Reservists Military Unit
    • Obligations to emergency services, from organisations such as the Country Fire Authority;
    • Jury service from the Juries Commissioner’s Office;
  • Statutory declarations from relevant people.
Third Party Providers Other entities through which registered providers deliver higher education courses, either on shore or off shore, within the requirements of the Threshold Standards, regardless of mode or location of delivery
Unsatisfactory Progress Where the student has failed 50% or more of the course attempted in a study period or otherwise failed to meet the minimum program requirements. A VET student is deemed to have unsatisfactory progress where they have failed the same unit twice.

A student may withdraw from a program or course prior to the census date of the teaching program without financial penalty.

After this date, financial penalties will be incurred unless the student is able to demonstrate, with independent supporting documentation, that special circumstances were present prior to the last date to withdraw, but did not impact until after the last date to withdraw and were beyond the student’s control, prevented completion of program requirements. This includes withdrawal from all studies.

Policy Statement

Federation University Australia is committed to:

  • Supporting all students of diverse backgrounds and circumstances to participate in the pursuit of learning
  • Fair, consistent and transparent decision-making processes
  • Compliance with all legislative, regulatory and reporting requirements

This policy provides a set of principles to maximise students' learning and wellbeing through the provision of support options accessed in specific circumstances:

Principle Demonstrated by
The University protects the confidentiality of information about students
  • Ensuring that the student understands the need for some disclosure to enable their application to be appropriately addressed
  • Requiring Health professionals to conduct themselves ethically in respecting the student’s right to confidentiality and privacy
  • Maintaining academic records that contain only necessary personal information for academic purposes
  • Ensuring that all personal information is kept in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles and other standards related to health records, where appropriate
The University supports deferment of programs and granting of leave from studies across higher education programs
  • Allowing deferment and leave from studies from all non-exempted higher education award programs up to a maximum of 12 months
  • Facilitating completion and submission of either deferment or first leave from studies application
  • Providing counselling in relation to second or subsequent periods of leave
  • Not applicable to VET
The University supports students to manage any serious health conditions they experience       
  • Facilitating completion of an Application for Special Consideration Form
  • Encouraging students with a disability to register with the Disability & Learning Access Unit (DLAU) and provide evidence to assist in the development of a formal LAP
  • Making reasonable adjustments to study
  • Implementing special consideration for assessments
  • Providing counselling

Note: depending on the severity of the student’s illness or condition, coupled with the confidential nature of some presenting issues, the Health Care Professional form may contain varying levels of detailed information, however, the health professional must provide an assessment of the impact of the individual’s circumstances when completing the Health Care Professional Certification form

Special consideration, discretionary assessment extensions,  reasonable adjustments or flexible study options must not compromise academic integrity or standards or the inherent requirements of the program
  • Encouraging students to plan their studies and assessments and be organised to meet deadlines
  • Determining special consideration or reasonable adjustments as requested within completed Special Consideration Application Forms and/or Health Care Professional Forms or Final Course Supplementary Assessment

Supporting Documents


  • Academic Board (as the Approval Authority) is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this policy and its accompanying procedure.
  • Dean of Students and Registrar is responsible for maintaining the content of this policy as delegated by Approval Authority.


The Student Learning and Well Being Policy will be communicated throughout the University via:

  • An Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the 'Recently Approved Documents' page on the 'Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University' website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy.
  • Academic Board
  • Learning and Teaching Committee
  • School meetings
  • Academic Induction Program
  • Student Health & Wellbeing meetings
  • Student Senate meeting


The Student Learning and Well Being Policy will be implemented throughout the University via:

  • An Announcement Notice via FedNews website and on the 'Recently Approved Documents' page on the 'Policies, Procedures and Forms @ the University' website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy
  • Moodle module