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International Student Fee Refund Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This document sets out Charles Sturt University's policy on the refund of monies to international students for course fees where the student does not commence study or withdraws after the commencement of the study period for part or any of the period in which they were to study.

(2) The objectives of this Policy are to:

  1. provide students with an understanding of when, how and in what amount their fees will be refunded by the University; and
  2. comply with the requirements of the Commonwealth Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000.

Scope

(3) This Policy applies to all international students of the University studying anywhere by any mode of study except where Clause 4 applies.

(4) This Policy does not apply to students who have an amended course refund issued with their individual offer letter insofar as the amended individual course refund is inconsistent with this Policy.

(5) This Policy should be read in conjunction with the student's offer letter as it forms the initial contract with the student.

(6) A requirement of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Amendment Act 2014 is the provisions of this Policy, in respect to Clause 13, commence 1 July 2014.

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Section 2 - Glossary

(7) In this Policy, unless the contrary intention appears:

  1. Census Date - means the official deadline for finalising enrolment and fees for each teaching session. It is also the point where an academic grade is awarded in accordance with the academic withdrawal policy.
  2. Commencing Study - means the formal commencement of study in the first teaching week of the relevant session.
  3. Course Fees - means the combined amount of the Tuition and Non-Tuition Fees paid.
  4. Domestic Student Fees - means the cost of tuition for Commonwealth Government Supported and Fee-Paying places.
  5. In writing - means to submit notification to the University by email, letter or correspondence in legible English.
  6. International Student - means a student who doesn't have Australian or New Zealand citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or a Permanent Humanitarian Visa and is studying at the University within Australia or Overseas.
  7. Mode of Study - means how the study is undertaken by one of the following modes: face to face full-time, face to face part-time, online learning.
  8. Non-Tuition Fees - means monies for items not directly related to tuition and maybe compulsory or discretionary. Examples; Overseas Student Health Cover, Student Services and Amenities Fees.
  9. Partner Institution - means another provider who has an agreement with the University to offer a University course of study, e.g. Study Group Australia, Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE, Holmesglen Institute of TAFE, etc.
  10. Session - means the teaching and examination periods within the University. (For full time on-campus students there are three sessions per year.)
  11. Tuition fees - means fees received by the University (from or on behalf of an overseas student or intending overseas student) that are "directly related to the provision of a course that the University is providing, or offering to provide, to the student". Tuition fees are typically compulsory fees for the delivery of the enrolled course and include items such as: tutorials and tutoring sessions, lectures, additional requisite training including practicums and practice hours, ancillary costs for fieldwork, excursions or laboratories, specialist materials that are mandatory and relate to the provision of the course.
  12. Visa - means the document issued by the Commonwealth of Australia which enables a person who is not a citizen of Australia to enter the country and to remain here for a limited duration to study at an authorised educational institution.
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Section 3 - Policy

Student Load

(8) Where the student is studying in Australia utilising any subclass of Visa, the conditions of that Visa provides relevant information about the maintenance of student enrolment load obligations. Except, where approval has been received from the Executive Director, Division of Student Administration, on-campus international students must undertake a full study load to maintain their Visa conditions.

Liability for Course Fees

(9) The date the University confirms receipt of the student withdrawal notice will be the date used for all calculations, and the student remains liable for any Course Fees due up until that date.

(10) The University will not compensate students for any exchange rate differences or transfer costs that have occurred when undertaking foreign currency exchange.

Full Refund of Course Fees

(11) A full refund of any course fees paid will be given where a student withdraws prior to commencing study for the first time for the reasons outlined below:

  1. political or civil unrest or natural disasters prevent the student leaving their home country or paying fees in full;
  2. the student is unable to commence their course because of a serious and prolonged illness, disability or death of a parent, sibling, spouse or child;
  3. the offer of a place is withdrawn;
  4. the course which was applied for is no longer offered; or
  5. the University refuses to enrol the student in a course.

No refund of Course Fees

(12) A refund will not be given where:

  1. the student has supplied fraudulent, forged or deliberately misleading documentation to the University;
  2. the student's enrolment for the session is terminated due to either academic or general misconduct as specified in policies of the University;
  3. enrolment has been terminated due to non-payment of all course fees; or
  4. a request for refund has not been lodged within 90 days of the end of the session in which the course fee was applicable.

Refund where a student visa has been denied.

(13) If the student is still in their home country or outside Australia the amount of a refund is the total amount of course fees, minus the lesser of the following amounts:

  1. 5% of the amount of course fees received by the provider in respect of the student for the course before the default day; or
  2. $500.

(14) If the student has already commenced the course, the amount of the refund is the weekly portion of unused tuition fees calculated on a daily basis. For calculation see Appendix A - Refund Schedule C.

Refund Prior to Commencement of Study

(15) Where a refund of fees is requested prior to the first session of study and Clauses 16 or 18 do not apply then, Refund Schedule A applies (refer Appendix A), except where the study is on-campus at the University or a Partner location, in which case Clause 20 applies.

(16) Where the request for a refund is related to the first session of study at the University or a Partner on-campus location and the notification of withdrawal is prior to the start of session, an administrative fee may be charged. The non-refundable tuition fees (provided by Refund Schedule A - Appendix A) plus the administrative fee will not exceed $2,500.

Refund After Commencement of Study

(17) A refund of course fees after commencing study will be made as outlined in Refund Schedule B (Appendix A), except as outlined in Clause 18.

(18) After commencing study, the student must complete two processes to receive a refund in terms of the refund schedules below:

  1. the student must notify the University of withdrawal from course/subjects; and
  2. the student must seek a refund of monies.

(19) NOTE: The processes outlined in Clause 18(a) and (b) must be completed within 90 days of the end of the applicable session or no refund will be considered.

Fee Roll Over

(20) If a student withdraws from a subject within four weeks of commencement of a session, the student may request in writing that their entire tuition fees be credited or 'rolled over' to their University account for future subjects. This money must be applied to future subjects.

(21) Where a second refund application is lodged subsequent to 'roll over' approval, a refund amount will be determined in accordance with Refund Schedule A or Schedule B (refer Appendix A) depending upon the date confirmed under Clause 15 of the subsequent withdrawal.

Change of Visa Status

(22) If the student provides the University with written evidence before the applicable census date, that they have had been granted Australian Permanent Resident status, Permanent Humanitarian Visa or Australian Citizenship, they will be entitled to a refund of all international tuition fees paid for the current session, however they become liable for that (and subsequent) sessions to pay applicable domestic student fees.

(23) In some instances there may not be Government funded places available within a course. If this is the case, then the student may elect to defer their studies and may be required to apply in competition with the next round of domestic applicants.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Withdrawal Process

(24) There are no prescribed forms for the withdrawal process but contact your campus Division of Student Administration as some use forms and information packages.

(25) The student must notify the University or its relevant Partner of their withdrawal from course and subjects in writing.

(26) To receive a refund after the commencement of semester, the student must complete two processes in terms of the Refund Schedules:

  1. the student must notify the University of withdrawal of course/subjects; and
  2. the student must request a refund of monies from the University,
within 90 days of the end of the applicable session or no refund will be considered.

Payment of Refunds

(27) Refund payments will be:

  1. credited to the student's bank account or where a bank account is named as the source account within the contract, to that bank account;
  2. will be based on the Australian dollar fee for the course rather than any foreign currency exchange amount applicable at the date of refund; and
  3. paid within four weeks (or two weeks in the case of situations listed in Clause 11(c), (d), or (e) after the written notification date by telegraphic funds transfer to a bank.

Exceptional Circumstances

(28) The Student Administration Claims Committee may consider written requests for refunds due to exceptional circumstances and may increase the amount of refund provided beyond the levels provided in the schedules contained in the Refund Schedules.

(29) Acceptance of money appropriately refunded within the amounts contained within the schedules contained in the Refund Schedules does not preclude an application for exceptional circumstances and students must first apply for refund of amounts under the Refund Schedules unless a nil (0%) refund is applicable.

(30) Applications for refunds beyond the levels outlined within the Refund Schedules (refer Appendix A):

  1. will be deemed to be denied if the matter is not determined within 30 days following receipt of the student appeal; and
  2. must provide details and appropriate verifiable evidence of the circumstances which support the reasons for withdrawal. Those reasons could be:
    1. circumstances are beyond the student's control;
    2. circumstances do not make their full impact on the student until on or after the commencement of session in question; and
    3. circumstances make it impracticable for the student to complete the requirements for the subject during the period during which the student undertook, or was to undertake, the subject.

Appeals of Decisions / Complaints

(31) If after 30 days from receipt of an application by the University, the student has not been notified of an outcome, or if the student wishes to appeal the decision, they do so by applying to the Executive Director, Division of Student Administration at the contact details provided in Appendix 2.

(32) If the student is not satisfied with the application of this Policy, they should raise their concern with the University Ombudsman. See contact details in Appendix 2.

(33) The student at any point is also entitled to take legal action under Australia's consumer protection laws.

Disclosure of Information

(34) Personal information provided by students to the University may be made available to Australian Commonwealth and State agencies pursuant to legislation, particularly in regard to the University's obligations under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000.

(35) The University is required under Section 19 of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000, to inform the Department of Immigration and Border Protection about changes to student course enrolment and any breach of student visa condition relating to satisfactory academic performance.

(36) The personal information is managed under the requirements of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and will be used to manage the student's candidature and relationship with the University. Any information supplied will only be used for administrative and regulatory purposes by the University and not for any other purpose unless permission is given by the student for that other purpose.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(37) Nil.