This page contains legislative updates regarding student fees.

In mid-2020 the Australian Government announced a range of reforms to improve the higher education sector. These reforms involved the following key changes:

  • adjusted repayment thresholds
  • combined HELP loan limit.
  • improved support for regional higher education
  • rural and regional enterprise scholarships.
  • performance-based funding growth for universities
  • transparency for university teaching and research.
  • introduction of new completion rate requirements for students commencing in 2022.

This page was last updated 27 April 2022.

Job-ready Graduates Package

On 19 June 2020, the Australian Government announced the Job-ready Graduates Package. This package changes the way the government funds university courses from 2021. The main changes are explained below.

Changing student contributions

Changes to university funding for Commonwealth supported places means that the amount students pay toward some courses has also changed. The cost of university degrees in areas of national priorities are significantly reduced, in courses in engineering, computing, allied health, education, and nursing.

For continuing students who commenced their course of study before 1 January, 2021, grandfathering arrangements will be in place. This means that if the student contribution amount increased, continuing students will continue paying the same amount as they would have, had these reforms not been implemented for any units that would otherwise have an increased student contribution subject to yearly CPI indexation.

Continuing students enrolled in units where the student contribution amount has decreased will see these students paying the lower rate.

HECS-HELP up front payment discount

Students eligible for HECS-HELP assistance will receive a 10 per cent discount if they make up-front payments of $500 or more towards their student contribution.

The discount means students will pay less for their studies if they make an up-front payment and gives students more options to pay their contributions. The discount provides an incentive for students to pay up-front, either fully or partially, which will decrease their student debt.

The HECS-HELP up-front payment discount will apply for up-front payments of $500 or more for units of study with a census date on or after 1 January 2021.

HELP loan limit for 2021

From 1 January 2021, the loan limit will increase to $155,448 for students studying medicine, dentistry and veterinary science courses. The loan limit for all other students will be increased to $108,232.

Low Completion Rate (LCR)

Effects of low completion rate on government funding

Low Completion Rate (LCR) rules apply to domestic students who commenced a course with VU on or after 1 January 2022.

LCR rules link your unit pass rate to your access to the following government funding:

If you do not maintain a 50% or higher pass rate, you cannot retain any of the above government funding. If you don't maintain this rate, you will need to move to a full-fee place (rather than CSP) and pay the tuition fees upfront, until you improve your pass rate.

Students affected by these new rules include:

  • HE students who commenced a new course in 2022, including pathways and course transfers
  • domestic CSP
  • domestic students accessing HECS-HELP
  • domestic full-fee paying students accessing FEE-HELP.

Pass rates vary depending on course level studied

Sub-bachelor courses (such as HE Diplomas) have a threshold of four units, bachelor and above have a threshold of eight units before their fee situation changes.

See the following examples for how LCR is determined:

Sample grades:

  • 1B1 - WD grade
  • 1B2 - N grade
  • 1B3 - Pass grade
  • 1B4 - WN grad
  • 2B1 - N grade
  • 2B2 - Pass grade
  • 2B3 - WD grade
  • 2B4 - Pass grade

In the above example, this student has completed eight units, which is the point at which VU must apply the Low Completion Rate rules for bachelor- and above-level courses. This student failed (or withdrew after census date) more than 50% of their units (i.e. five non-passed units out of a total of eight). The student can only continue in this course if they switch to full-fee upfront payments. They will not be able to access a FEE-HELP loan.

Alternatively the student can explore other study options. They can meet with a Student Advisor to seek specific advice, or visit our website to look at the courses we have on offer.

Sample grades:

  • 1B1 - WD grade
  • 1B2 - N grade
  • 1B3 - Pass grade
  • 1B4 - WN grad

In the above example, this student has completed four units, which is the point at which VU must apply the Low Completion Rate rules for sub-bachelor-level HE courses. This student failed (or withdrew after census date) more than 50% of their units (i.e. three non-passed units out of four). The student can only continue in this course if they switch to full-fee upfront payments. They will not be able to access a FEE-HELP loan.

Alternatively the student can explore other study options. They can meet with a Student Advisor to seek specific advice, or visit our website to look at the courses we have on offer.

Discover more information on Low Completion Rates and what to do if you approach or reach the limits of your pass requirements.

VU will email you if you have not met your pass requirements for a course. You must take steps to understand and act on this advice.

You can book an appointment with a Student Advisor to discuss the options available to you and read more about the Low Completion Rate rules on the Study Assist website.

Check your VU email account regularly for any emails about your CSP or HELP eligibility and the Low Completion Rate. Emails are issued three to four days after the results release date for each study period.

To be reinstated into a CSP or be eligible for a HELP loan, you must demonstrate that you are capable of completing units in that course whilst paying full fee/upfront. You can revert to CSP/HELP loan eligibility once you achieve a completion rate of above 50%.

For example, if a student failed 5 out of 8 units in their first year, moved to full fee upfront, then passed the next three units, their completion rate would be back up to 50% or above (i.e. they have failed a 5 but passed 6 out of a total of 11 units).

LCR applies to the following grades:

  • N = Fail
  • WN = Withdrawn Failed
  • WD = (Withdrawn-without academic penalty).

The LCR rate applies throughout your course

This means that VU must monitor all 2022 commencing students after every results release for the duration of your course. Any failed or late withdrawn units contribute to a Low Completion Rate. The more units you pass, the less you will need to worry about LCR, because it is more likely it is that you will maintain a 50% pass rate overall.

It does not matter if you study full time or part time – we will count your completed units and calculate whether your pass rate is above or below 50%.

If you are deferring payment of your tuition fees via a HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP loan, you should be keeping track of your debt.

After each census date we send you a Commonwealth Assistance Notice (CAN) which provides details of unit costs and how much has been added to your HELP debt in the most recent study period.

You will need to start repaying your HELP debt when you start earning above the income threshold.

You can check the current balance of your HELP debt via the ATO section of MyGov or go to myHELPbalance.