Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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Guides & Guidelines as made
These Guidelines list professional occupations and their assessing bodies for the purposes of sections 144-55 and 104-60 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (the Act) and the determination of FEE-HELP entitlement for bridging courses for overseas-trained professionals. The Guidelines also set out the requirements with which Open Universities Australia (OUA), formerly Open Learning Australia, must comply under Part 3-3 of the Act as a condition of its students being entitled to FEE-HELP. The Guidelines impose similar conditions on OUA to those imposed on higher education providers under the Act.
Administered by: Education and Training
Registered 31 Aug 2007
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled Senate10-Sep-2007
Tabled HR11-Sep-2007
Date of repeal 28 Sep 2017
Repealed by FEE-HELP Guidelines 2017

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

 

Issued by the authority of the Minister for Education, Science and Training

 

Subject:              Higher Education Support Act 2003

                             FEE-HELP Guidelines

 

 

Authority

 

Section 238-10 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (the Act) provides that the Minister may make Guidelines for the purposes of the Act.  In particular, Item 4 of the table in subsection 238-10(1) specifies that the Minister may make FEE-HELP Guidelines to give effect to matters set out in Part 3-3 of the Act.

 

 

Purpose

 

The Guidelines list professional occupations and their assessing bodies for the purposes of sections 144-55 and 104-60 of the Act and the determination of FEE-HELP entitlement for bridging courses for overseas-trained professionals.

The Guidelines also set out the requirements with which Open Universities Australia (OUA), formerly Open learning Australia, must comply under Part 3-3 of the Act as a condition of its students being entitled to FEE-HELP.  The Guidelines impose similar conditions on OUA to those imposed on higher education providers under the Act.

 

 

Background

 

OUA is a distance education provider which offers people the opportunity to enrol in university level units of study on a not for degree basis.  OUA liaises with universities to enable its students to enrol in a university’s units of study under OUA’s rubric.  OUA is not a higher education provider under the Act, but the Act, by separate provisions in Part 3-3 requires OUA to follow similar conditions to higher education providers as a condition of its students being entitled to FEE-HELP.  The FEE-HELP Guidelines help ensure that OUA students have the same protections as students of higher education providers have under the Act.

 

 

Detailed explanation of the FEE-HELP Guidelines

 

·         Chapter 1 provides interpretation of the terms within the Guidelines.

 

·         Chapter 2 lists professional occupations and their assessing bodies for the purposes of sections 144-55 and 104-60 of the Act, the definition of a bridging course for overseas-trained professionals and establishing the entitlement to FEE-HELP of a person undertaking such a course.

 

·         Chapter 3 sets out the requirements with which OUA must comply as a condition of its students being entitled to FEE-HELP.

 

·         Paragraph 3.5 requires OUA to be financially viable and to provide an annual financial statement and auditor’s report on the statement.

 

·         Paragraph 3.10 sets out quality requirements for OUA.  It requires it to have an Academic Programmes Board and specifies requirements relating to its role and membership.  It also sets out requirements relating to students’ access to units of study, the potential for articulation of OUA units with the higher education awards of higher education providers and the provision of information to students on the requirements and demands of units of study.

 

·         Paragraph 3.15 requires OUA to treat fairly all students accessing and seeking to access units of study through OUA.  It requires OUA to have grievance and review procedures and a review officer to undertake reviews of decisions relating to the re-crediting of FEE-HELP balance.  It requires OUA to comply with the information privacy principles of the Privacy Act 1988 and to have procedures for students to access and obtain a copy of their personal information.

 

·         Paragraph 3.20 provides that OUA’s administrative arrangements must support the provision of FEE‑HELP assistance.  It requires OUA to give to the Minister the same statistical and other information in respect of the provision of higher education and of compliance with the requirements of the Act that the Minister requires of higher education providers.  It requires OUA to inform the Minister of significant events affecting its capacity to comply with the Act and the FEE-HELP Guidelines.

 

·         Paragraph 3.25 requires OUA to charge a student the tuition fee for a unit of study and not to charge a domestic student any other fee for the unit.  It requires OUA to repay tuition fees to students who are no longer enrolled at the end of the census date.  It requires OUA to give to the Minister a schedule of tuition fees for all units of study offered or intended to be offered in a defined period, and to publish the schedule.

 

·         Paragraph 3.30 requires OUA to issue a Commonwealth Assistance Notice to a person who is seeking FEE-HELP assistance for an OUA unit and provides for the correction of such notices.  It also requires OUA to determine a census date for a unit of study for a year that occurs not less than 20% of the way through the period during which the unit is undertaken, and to publish those census dates.  It sets out conditions for variation of census dates after publication.

 

 

Consultation

 

OUA is the key stakeholder and the one institution that is regulated by the FEE-HELP Guidelines.  It has had the opportunity to view draft versions of the Guidelines and has expressed its support for them. 

 

 

Commencement

 

The FEE-HELP Guidelines commence on the day after the day the Guidelines are registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.