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Curtin University
Fees @ Curtin

Legislative Changes

Update on charging Commonwealth Supported Fees

The University has delayed charging fees for students enrolled in Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) due to delays in the passage of the Higher Education Reform Package. The government has recently confirmed the maximum student contribution amounts for 2018 and as such CSP fees will be charged by the end of the third week in January 2018. After this time, you will be able to view your fees and generate your eInvoice.

Further information will be provided in January via your Official Communication Channel. A guide to 2018 tuition fee costs can be found on the Australian Government Department of Education and Training document outlining the maximum student contribution amount for each field of study.

For further information please visit the study assist website.

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Update on the Higher Education Reform Package

In the 2017-18 federal budget, the Australian Government proposed a range of reforms aimed at improving the higher education sector. In December 2017, the Government announced that many of these proposed changes would not proceed.

The Government will instead peruse a number of other policy measures, which will make Commonwealth support better targeted, make sure taxpayers receive value for money and help students make informed choices when it comes to study.

The main changes that may impact students are as follow and subject to the passage of legislation:

New repayment thresholds and indexation arrangements for the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)
From 1 July 2018, the Australian Government will introduce a new set of HELP repayment thresholds, which will affect all current and future HELP debtors by changing the timing and amounts of their repayments.

The compulsory HELP repayment threshold will be set at $45,000 with a one per cent payment rate, while the second threshold will be $51,957 with a two per cent repayment rate. The new maximum threshold will be $131,989 with a repayment rate of 10 per cent.

From 1 July 2019, the indexation of Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) repayment thresholds, currently linked to Average Weekly Earnings (AWE), will be changed to align with the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

New Limit for Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loans
From 1 January 2019, the Government will introduce a combined cap in the amount of tertiary assistance a student can access for tuition fees.

The new HELP limit will apply for HECS-HELP, VET FEE-HELP and VET Student Loans. This limit will be $150,000 for students undertaking medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses, and $104,440 for all other students.

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Delay in charging 2018 Commonwealth Supported Fees

Due to the delay in the passage of the Higher Education Reform package, the University has made a decision to delay charging fees for students enrolled in Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP).
CSP Fees will be charged in January 2018, after which time you will be able to view your fees and generate your eInvoice.

Further information will be provided in January via your Official Communication Channel. A guide to the 2018 cost of tuition fees, A guide to the 2018 cost of tuition fees can be found on the Australian Government Department of Education and Training document which displays the maximum student contribution amount for each field of study.

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Changes to funding for Permanent Residents and New Zealand Citizens

*subject to passage of legislation

From 1 January 2018, Government subsidies for Australian Permanent Residents and New Zealand citizens enrolling in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) will be withdrawn. These students will instead be enrolled in a fee-paying place and will be able to access FEE-HELP loans to defer their tuition fees. Fee-paying places do not receive any government funding and students will be required to pay the full cost of their course.
Please refer to the Study Assist and Department of Education and Training websites for further information.

Note: Eligible New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holders who meet the requisite criteria will be able to access the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loans. Please refer to the Fees website for eligibility requirements.

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Changes to Enabling Courses (Commonwealth Supported)

*subject to passage of legislatiom

From 1 January 2018 the Australian Government will abolish the loading on enabling programs and replace the loading with an equivalent maximum student contribution rate. As such, students enrolled in an enabling course will no longer be fully subsidised by the government and will be charged a student contribution amount. Eligible students will have access to HECS-HELP loan.

For further information please refer to the Study Assist website.

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Changes to Commonwealth Supported Postgraduate Funding (CSP)

*subject to passage of legislation

From 1 January 2019, the Australian Government will implement a 'student-centred' model for the distribution of Commonwealth Supported postgraduate coursework places, ensuring the places are used at the institutions where students want to study.
If you enrol in a postgraduate Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) in 2018, you will be able to study in that place during 2018. However, if you wish to undertake or continue postgraduate study from 1 January 2019 (unless you were offered a CSP in your course before 2 May 2017), you will need to apply for and be awarded a postgraduate CSP scholarship place if you want to access a CSP.
For further information please refer to the Study Assist website.

Note: Students who are currently studying in a Postgraduate Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) or have formally accepted an offer to study in a Postgraduate CSP before 2 May 2017 will maintain their CSP until they finish their course or up until 31 December 2020. Students who are offered or who commenced a course in a CSP after 2 May 2017, can continue as a CSP until 31 December 2018.

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Higher Education Reform

The Australian Government has announced a range of reforms to improve the higher education sector. These reforms affect many different aspects of study, from enrolment in different courses (including enabling, sub-bachelor and postgraduate courses), access to scholarships and loans, and repayment of HELP loans. The reforms will deliver a more sustainable sector, more choices for students and increase transparency and accountability in higher education.

For more information about how these changes might affect you, visit the Study Assist website:

Higher Education Reform Overview

Higher Education Reform FAQs

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Repayment of Loan - Overseas Obligation

The Australian Government has introduced changes relating to Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) repayment obligations for students with a HELP debt who are living and working overseas.

From 1 July 2017 students will need to work out their worldwide income for the 2016-17 income year and report this information to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) by lodging it online via myGov or through a registered Australian tax agent.

The first repayment will commence from 1 July 2017 based on the worldwide income for the 2016/17 income year. Similarly to if you were living and working in Australia, if you live and work overseas and earn worldwide income that exceeds the minimum HELP repayment thresholds, you will be required to make repayments against your loan.

These overseas repayment arrangements apply to all study loan schemes: HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, OS-HELP and SA-HELP.
For further information on the changes to HELP repayment obligations, see the study assist or overseas obligation FAQ page, alternatively the ATO website.

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Removal of the HECS-HELP discount and the HELP voluntary repayment bonus

From 1 January 2017, the Australian Government will remove the upfront HECS-HELP discount of 10 per cent for eligible students that pay their student contributions upfront and the voluntary HELP repayment bonus of 5 per cent.

Removal of the 10% HECS-HELP discount
The removal of the upfront discount will only affect students who choose to pay their tuition fees upfront. It will not affect students who access a HECS-HELP deferred loan.

From 1 January 2017, this discount will no longer exist. Until then, you can still get the HECS-HELP discount for units that have a census date on or before 31 December 2016. For more information about upfront payments and the HECS-HELP discount, visit the Study Assist website.

Removal of the 5% voluntary HELP repayment bonus
There are only a few months left to make a voluntary repayment of your HELP debt to the ATO and get the 5% HELP voluntary repayment bonus.

The bonus for voluntary repayments will only affect students who choose to make voluntary repayments above what is required when annual tax returns are assessed. If you are an eligible student who chooses to make a $500 voluntary repayment (which is in addition to compulsory repayments) of your HELP debt to the ATO, you will receive a bonus of 5%.

From 1 January 2017, the bonus will no longer exist. Until then, current arrangements still apply for voluntary repayments made to the ATO which are processed by 31 December 2016. For more information, visit the Study Assist website or the ATO website.

 

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Changes affecting Commonwealth Supported Students

The following information details the changes and proposed changes to Commonwealth supported places, including those that have occurred in previous years.

New Zealand Special Category Visa holder eligibility

From 1 January 2016, eligible New Zealand Special Category Visa (SCV) holders who meet the requisite criteria will be able to access Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loans.

It is important to note that not all New Zealand citizens, or holders of a Special Category Visa are automatically entitled to access HELP loans. Please refer to the required eligibility criteria below.

To find out if you are eligible and how to apply for HELP loans, view the eligibility criteria for New Zealand Special Visa Category (SCV) holders.

Important information

New Zealand citizens who gain permanent residency (PR) in Australia would lose their SCV status.

That is, if you lose your SCV status for any reason, you would become ineligible for HELP for all units of study with census dates after the date your SCV status is lost.

For further information, please visit StudyAssist website.

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Reduction of HELP discount and voluntary bonus

From 1 January 2012, the up-front HECS-HELP discount for eligible students (Australian citizens and Permanent Humanitarian visa holders) upon upfront payment of their student contribution (totalling $500 or more) attracted a 10% discount, instead of the 20% discount offered pre-2012. This was in accordance with the Higher Education Support Act 2003.

In addition, the HELP voluntary repayment bonus (applied to upfront voluntary payments of $500 or more), received by eligible students who paid directly to the Australian Taxation Office, was reduced from 10% to 5%.

Removal of Student Learning Entitlement

Student Learning Entitlement (SLE) was introduced to Australia on 1 January 2005. The system allocated eligible students an Equivalent Full Time Study Load (EFTSL) value of 7.0, which entitled them to 7 years of equivalent full time study as Commonwealth Supported students. A student's SLE was reduced by the EFTSL value of their unit(s) of study.

On 14 September 2011 Parliament passed legislation which abolished SLE, effective from 1 January 2012. Under the provisions of the Bill, higher education students no longer have a limit placed on how much study they can undertake as a Commonwealth Supported student.

Continuing students need not be concerned by any limits formerly placed on them by the operation of SLE. Students who have used up their SLE will now be able to continue study in a Commonwealth Supported place without restriction.

Further information about the abolition of the SLE system is available via the Australian Government's Study Assist website's glossary.

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Changes to FEE-HELP loan fee

Changes to legislation made in 2010 under the Higher Education Support Amendment (FEE-HELP Loan Fee) Bill 2010, mean that the loan fee for FEE-HELP increased from 20% to 25% for undergraduate units of study with census dates on or after 1 January 2011.

HESA special arrangements

In the 2008 Federal Budget, changes were made to reduce the maximum student contribution amount for units of study in mathematics, statistics and science. The lower contribution amount applies to students who commence/d their course on or after 1 January 2009 and some existing students who transfer/red from a course of study that is not in the natural and physical sciences to one that is. Current students (other than the transferring students described above) continue under existing arrangements.

Between 1 January 2009 and December 2012, students who transferred from a course of study that was not in the natural and physical sciences to one that was were eligible to retain their Pre-2008 status for units of study in accounting, administration, economics, and commerce; as well as their post-2008 status for units of study in mathematics, statistics and science.

In the 2007 Federal Budget, changes were made to increase the maximum student contribution amount for units of study in accounting, administration, economics, and commerce. These increases did not apply to pre-2008 students until the end of 2012.

As of 31 December 2008, students who were in the transitional HECS/PELS arrangement (pre 1997 and pre-2005) were no longer entitled to lower fees, and New Zealand citizens or holders of a permanent residence visa (excluding Permanent Resident Humanitarian status) were no longer eligible for HELP loans.

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