Procedures

Student Refunds - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

These procedures enact PPL 3.40.01 Student Fees policy of The University of Queensland (UQ). These procedures outline the processes for refunding international and domestic student fees and charges, including circumstances in which the University will refund all or part of the fees and charges paid, the circumstances in which the University is unable to provide a refund, how to apply for a refund and how refunds are paid.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Agreed starting day – the day on which a program was scheduled to start, or a later day agreed between the University and the student.

Census date – the date in the University’s academic calendar by which all enrolment requirements must be finalised for a given study period (March 31 for semester 1; August 31 for semester 2; December 18 for Summer semester (this may change); the dates set annually for trimesters; intensive teaching periods and medical rotation periods; the first day of the second month of a research quarter).

Commencing student – an international student who has accepted a place in a program at the University including an international student who has accepted a package offer, or an international or domestic student enrolled prior to the census date of the first study period of enrolment at the University.

Commonwealth scholarship – a postgraduate research scholarship payable under Part 2-4 of HESA.

Commonwealth supported student – a domestic student enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place.

Continuing student – means either:

Course – a distinct unit of study for which a result is given, identified by its alphanumeric code, a title and a fixed unit value.

Default day – in relation to a default means:

(a) the agreed starting day; or

(b) day on which a program ceases to be provided to a student; or

(c) day on which a student withdraws from a program; or

(d) day on which the University refuses to provide or continue providing a program to a student.

Domestic student – a student who is an Australian citizen, New Zealand citizen, or Australian permanent resident (including Australian Permanent Humanitarian Visa holders).

FEE-HELP – the Australian Government loan scheme available to eligible domestic students to pay tuition fees for units of study (courses) that are not Commonwealth supported, through a HELP loan repayable to the Australian Taxation Office.

First study period of enrolment – the study period in which the student commenced or was to commence a program at the University.

HECS-HELP – the Australian Government loan scheme available to eligible Commonwealth supported students allowing them to defer payment of their student contribution through a HELP loan repayable to the Australian Taxation Office.

HESAHigher Education Support Act 2003.

Incidental fee – a fee for a good or service related to the provision of a course or program that is additional to a student contribution amount or tuition fee and which meets one of the criteria set out in chapter 7 of the Higher Education Provider Guidelines and HESA [HESA paragraph 19-102(3)(f)].

International student – a student who is not a domestic student; also knows as an overseas student.

Program – a sequence of study leading to the award of a qualification such as a bachelor degree, graduate diploma or certificate or masters degree or Higher Degree by Research.

Provisional enrolment – under the University's Fee Rules and PPL 3.40.11 Enrolment, a person is not taken to be effectively enrolled in a program or course in a study period until all relevant fees and charges have been paid to the University.

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) – is a Research Doctorate (AQF10) or Research Masters (AQF9) program for which at least two-thirds of the student load for the program is required as research work.

Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship – may include an RTP Fees Offset paid to individual students by way of satisfaction of their liability for tuition fees; RTP Stipend to assist students with their living costs while undertaking an HDR; and RTP Allowances to assist students with ancillary costs of an HDR.

SA-HELP – the Commonwealth loan scheme available to eligible domestic students to pay their student services and amenities fee through a SA-HELP loan repayable to the Australian Taxation Office.

Scheduled start date – the date a study period commences according to the University's academic calendar or the date determined by the Academic Registrar.

Student contribution amount (SCA) – the fee a student enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place is required to pay for each course.

Student default

(a) the student did not commence the program on the agreed starting day; or

(b) the student withdrew from the program either before or after the agreed starting day; or

(c) the University cancels the student's enrolment because of one or more of the following events –

(i) the student failed to pay an amount he or she was liable to pay; or

(ii) the student breached a condition of his or her student visa; or

(iii) misconduct by the student.

Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) – the capped annual fee charged by the University for student services and amenities of a non-academic and non-political nature.

Study period – a semester, trimester, research quarter, medical rotation or teaching period.

Tuition fee – the fee the University receives, either directly or indirectly from a student or intending student, or another person who pays the fee on behalf of a student or intending student, that is directly related to the provisions of a program or course the University provides or is offering to provide.

Tuition fee deposit amount – the tuition fee deposit set for payment by an international student before the agreed starting date of the first study period of enrolment, to accept an offer of admission to a program at the University, which is credited to the student's UQ student fee account.

Uncollected funds – an amount in credit on a student’s account which has been inactive for a period of 15 months.

University default – the University fails to start to provide a program to the student on the agreed starting date or the program ceases to be provided to the student at any time after it starts but before it is completed; and the student has not withdrawn before the default day.

Unspent funds – payments by or on behalf of a student, to a student's UQ account, which have not been applied to a debt related to student's fees (also known as excess cash).

UQ-Ochsner student - an overseas student enrolled in a medical program at the University under the partnership agreement between the University and the Ochsner Health System who is charged tuition fees in US dollars.

Withdrawal – to cease study at The University of Queensland.

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to all staff and future, current and former students of the University.

4. Procedures Statement

Refunds must be made to students in accordance with the provisions of the ESOS Act and its legislative instruments, HESA and its legislative instruments, and the University's rules and policies.

5. Application Fee – International Students

5.1 A non-refundable application fee is payable for international student applications for admission to the University.

5.2 The Director, Intl Mktg, Rec & Admission, UQ International may exempt some international student cohorts from payment of the application fee.

6. Deposit Amount – International Students

6.1 International students are required to pay the deposit amount stipulated in their letter of offer concurrently with or after accepting an offer of a place in a program at UQ; this amount may include a pre-paid UQ tuition fee amount, OSHC Allianz Global Assistance premium and fees for English language training at the Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education (ICTE-UQ).

6.2 The required UQ tuition fee deposit amount is non-refundable after acceptance of a place in a program except in certain cases of student default (see Section 7) or where the University is unable to deliver the UQ program (see Section 11).

6.3 An international student may elect to pay more than the tuition deposit amount specified in the letter of offer, but is not required to do so, however the University cannot accept payment of more than a total program tuition fee.

6.4 For refunds of fees paid to ICTE-UQ for English language study, refer to the ICTE-UQ refund policy.

6.5 For refunds of Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) refer to Section 18.6.

7. Student Default – Commencing International Students

7.1 A commencing international student who withdraws in writing from a program:

7.1.1 21 calendar days or more before the scheduled start date of the first study period of enrolment will be charged a cancellation fee of AUD$1,000 or if the student is a UQ-Ochsner student whose written contract with the University requires payment of tuition fees in US dollars, the student will be charged USD$1,000; or

7.1.2 Less than 21 calendar days before the first study period commences until the census date of the study period, will be charged a cancellation fee of AUD$3,000, or if the student is a UQ-Ochsner student who is required to pay tuition fees in US dollars, the student will be charged USD$3,000; and

7.1.3 The remainder of tuition fees paid will be refunded as per the provisions of Section 18.

7.1.4 If the reason for the withdrawal from the program is because the student was refused a student visa, tuition fees paid for the commencing study period will be refunded as per the provisions of Section 18, subject to application of relevant administrative charges.

7.2 An international student who does not commence at the University on the agreed starting day and has not previously withdrawn:

7.2.1 Will have any tuition fee paid refunded, as per the provisions of Section 18, less a cancellation fee of AUD$3,000, or if the student is a UQ-Ochsner student, less a cancellation fee of USD$3,000.

7.2.2 Where a student is unable to obtain a student visa and is therefore unable to commence a program, the University will refund the tuition fee deposit amount paid as per the provisions of Section 18, subject to application of relevant administrative charges.

7.3 A commencing international student whose provisional enrolment in the first study period is cancelled for non-payment of all fees and charges:

7.3.1 Is eligible to have any tuition fee amounts paid for the study period refunded as per the provisions in Section 18, less an AUD$3,000 cancellation fee, or if the student is a UQ-Ochsner student who is required to pay tuition fees in US dollars, a USD$3,000 cancellation fee.

7.3.2 If the reason for non-payment of all fees and charges is because the student was refused a student visa, any tuition fees paid for the commencing study period will be refunded as per the provisions of Section 18, subject to application of relevant administrative charges.

7.4 Determination of special cases:

A commencing international student can apply to the Academic Registrar to request a variation of the cancellation fee in the following circumstances:

7.4.1 The student failed to meet the University’s English language entry requirements; or

7.4.2 The student submits a duly completed written agreement with the University which defers commencement of the program by no more than one year and the student is enrolled on the scheduled start date of the first study period of enrolment as per the written agreement with the student; or

7.4.3 The student has studied a program previously at the University; or

7.4.4 Where an issue is not clearly dealt with in the Fee Rules.

7.5 A student who is dissatisfied with the refund assessment decision made by the Academic Registrar has the right to apply to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) in writing for a review of that decision, as outlined in Section 20.

7.6 Prior to enrolment in the first study period, where the University withdraws the offer of a place due to the provision by the student of incorrect or incomplete information in an application for admission, a student will be refunded tuition fees paid in advance for a program, as per Section 18.

7.7 Where a commencing student defaults but there is no compliant written agreement between the University and the student which sets out the refund arrangements that will apply in those circumstances, the University will refund all tuition fees paid for the study period, as per the provisions of Section 18.

8. Student Default – Continuing International Students

8.1 A continuing international student who cancels enrolment or withdraws from a program in writing to the University:

8.1.1 on or before the census date, will be fully refunded the tuition fees paid for the current study period of enrolment, as per the provisions of Section 18; if the student was in receipt of financial aid for the study period, the provisions of Section 13.1 will apply.

8.1.2 after the census date will not be refunded tuition fees, unless the student has been granted removal of financial liability under special circumstances.

8.2 Where a student is unable to complete a course(s) or program due to visa refusal the University will refund tuition fees paid for the study period in which the default occurs, as per the provisions of Section 18.

8.3 Where the University has not entered into a written agreement with a continuing international student that sets out the refund requirements that apply if a student defaults, the University will refund all tuition fees paid for the study period in which the student has defaulted, as per the provisions of Section 18.

9. Suspension, Expulsion or Cancellation of Enrolment

9.1 A student suspended, expelled or refused further enrolment in a study period in accordance with the University's established student discipline policies and procedures, is not entitled to a refund of tuition fees or upfront student contribution amounts paid for that study period, if the student's enrolment is suspended or terminated after the census date for the study period.

9.2 A student whose provisional enrolment is cancelled following refusal of enrolment for unsatisfactory academic progress (show cause) will be eligible for a refund of any tuition fee or student contribution amount paid for the study period, as per the provisions of Section 18.

9.3 For suspension or termination of enrolment prior to the census date of a study period, tuition fees or upfront student contribution amounts paid for the study period and/or paid in advance for future study periods will be refunded as per the provisions of Section 18.

9.4 A student whose provisional enrolment is cancelled for non-payment of all fees and charges is eligible for a refund of any tuition fees or upfront student contribution amounts paid for the study period, as per the provisions of Section 18.

10. Refund of Fees – Domestic Students

10.1 Students withdrawing from a unit of study (course) on or before its census date will be given a full refund of a tuition fee paid for the unit of study or a student contribution amount paid upfront for the unit of study, as per the provisions of Section 18.

10.2 After the census date the University will not refund a student contribution amount or a tuition fee for a unit of study (course) unless the student has been granted removal of financial liability.

10.3 After the census date remission of a HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP debt for students granted removal of financial liability, will be processed in accordance with the relevant legislation [HESA 137-5(4); 137-10(4)].

11. University Default

In the event of a program not being delivered:

11.1 If the University is unable to deliver a coursework program in full, the student will be offered a full refund of all tuition fees or student contribution amounts (SCA) paid for the study period in which the default occurs and any tuition fees or SCA paid in advance for future study periods in the program or the student may be offered enrolment in another program by the University.

11.2 If the University is unable to deliver suitable advisory support to a HDR student, the student will be offered a full refund of all tuition fees paid for the research quarter in which the default occurs and any tuition fees paid in advance for future study periods of the program.

11.3 If the student seeks a refund, as per the provisions of Section 18, it will be paid within 14 days of the day on which a completed refund request is received.

11.4 If a student chooses placement in another program, the University will ask the student to submit a duly completed document to indicate that the student accepts the placement.

11.5 Tuition fees paid for study periods completed prior to the study period in which a default occurs will not be refunded, unless the provisions of Section 17 apply.

12. International Students Granted Australian Permanent Residency or Australian or New Zealand Citizenship

12.1 An international student granted Australian permanent residency or Australian or New Zealand citizenship on or before the census date in a study period, who, by the census date, provides the University with the appropriate documentary evidence of changed visa status, and continues their current enrolment as a domestic student, must pay full domestic student tuition fees for the study period in which the status changed and for any study period thereafter unless a Commonwealth supported place is obtained by the study period census date.

12.2 Any payment of tuition fees in excess of the domestic fees and charges for the study period may be refunded to the student, as per the provisions in Section 18.

12.3 If permanent residency is granted after the census date the University will not refund international tuition fees paid for the study period.

13. Students in Receipt of Financial Aid

13.1 Under US Federal William D. Ford Direct Loan Program guidelines, the University is required to return the unearned portion of funds provided for study purposes to the financial institution administering the US Government loan, if the student granted the loan drops all course enrolments in a study period, having completed 60% or less of the study period.

13.2 If a student withdraws from all course enrolments in a study period, having completed 61% or more of the study period, no tuition fees are refunded to the student, unless the student is successful in an application for removal of financial liability due to special circumstances after the census date, as detailed in Section 17, or the student withdraws as a result of a student visa refusal (see Section 8.2), in which case refund is made as per the provisions of Section 18.

14. Students in Receipt of UQ Research Scholarships

No tuition fee refund is applicable to a student whose tuition fee has been offset by an RTP Fees Offset scholarship or by a UQ Tuition Fee Offset Scholarship.

15. Refund of Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

15.1 The Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) is non-refundable once incurred and a SA-HELP debt cannot be removed once incurred.

15.2 Prior to the incurral date, SSAF payments are refunded as per the provisions of Section 18.

16. Refunds of Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

16.1 OSHC Allianz Global Assistance

16.1.1 If an international student cancels OSHC cover prior to arrival in Australia, OSHC Allianz Global Assistance will refund the OSHC amount paid.

16.1.2 If an international student cancels OSHC cover after arrival in Australia, OSHC Allianz Global Assistance will refund the OSHC amount paid, less a minimum cover period of three months.

16.1.3 Where OSHC is paid by a UQ administered scholarship, no refund will be payable to the student.

16.2 Other healthcare providers

Students who use other healthcare providers should consult their provider about refund provisions in the event of cancellation. 

17. Refunds in Special Circumstances After the Census Date

In the event a student’s application for removal of financial liability after the census date, as per PPL 3.50.10 Removal of Financial Liability Due to Special Circumstances, is successful, the refund procedures outlined in Section 18 apply.

18. Application for and Payment of Refunds

18.1 Amounts paid to the University for a given study period, by or on behalf of a student, may be used to settle previously incurred debts to the University which are outstanding. Students may request refunds of unspent funds.

18.2 To apply for a refund:

18.2.1 Students complete and submit the Student Fees Refund Request form.

18.2.2 International coursework students wishing to withdraw completely from a program must complete an Application to Withdraw form and a Student Fees Refund Request form.

18.2.3 International Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students wishing to withdraw completely from an HDR program must complete a Change of Candidature Status form and a Student Fees Refund Request form.

18.2.4 Continuing students or students who have commenced their studies or international students who have arrived in Australia, submit a completed Student Fees Refund Request form to the Student Centre or via their UQ student email account to fees@uq.edu.au

18.2.5 Prior to arrival in Australia, commencing international students may send a scanned copy of a completed Student Fees Refund Request (and withdrawal form(s) if relevant) to: applicationstatus@uq.edu.au.

18.3 Refunds are processed within 28 days of the University's receipt of a completed refund request; unless the provisions in Section 11 apply, in which case the refund will be paid within 14 days of receipt of the form. If information provided is not complete or further information is required, the processing timeframe will commence once the required information is submitted.

18.4 Refunds are generally made to the student, with some exceptions as specified below:

18.4.1 Refunds on credit card transactions will be returned to the same account used for the original payment, where possible. Payments received by UQPay are refunded to the payer's credit card provided the payment was made within the past twelve months and the card is still valid.

18.4.2 For other types of payments received, refunds can be paid into a nominated Australian bank account or transferred to a nominated overseas bank account.

18.4.3 Payments made by newly commencing international students via Flywire will be refunded via Flywire where possible, to the payment source, in the currency used to make payment.

18.4.4 Where a student's fees have been paid by a sponsor who has entered into a Third Party Contract with the University, the refund will be paid to the sponsor.

18.4.5 Where a student's fees have been paid under an internal University of Queensland scholarship agreement, any refund will be made to the relevant organisational unit of the University.

18.4.6 For students in receipt of financial aid, no refunds will be directly payable to the student, unless the circumstances in Section 13.2 apply.

18.4.7 Where payment is made via an authorised UQ agent, the student may specify a different account for payment of a refund.

18.4.8 For circumstances not covered under Section 18, the student may apply in writing to the Academic Registrar to have a refund remitted to a different account.

18.5 Refunds of tuition fees to a UQ-Ochsner student, whose written contract with the University requires the student to pay all tuition fees in US dollars, will be made in US dollars.

18.6 For refunds of OSHC premiums with OSHC Allianz Global Assistance:

18.6.1 A student who cancels their OSHC cover prior to arrival in Australia applies for a refund of OSHC by submitting a completed Student Fees Refund Request form to applicationstatus@uq.edu.au.

18.6.2 A student who cancels their OSHC cover after arrival in Australia, applies directly to OSHC Allianz Global Assistance for a refund.

18.7 Requests for refunds of incidental fees are made to the relevant School or enrolling unit.

19. Refunds of Uncollected Funds

19.1 Students must:

  • check their student account for any uncollected funds;
  • complete a Student Fee Refund Request form, if the student requires a refund of the uncollected funds; and
  • maintain their current contact details in mySI-net.

19.2 Finance and Business Services (FBS) Division will liaise with the Administrative Services Division (ASD) prior to contacting students with uncollected funds.

19.3 After 15 months, UQ will contact students with uncollected funds by their current contact details recorded in mySI-net. UQ is not obliged to contact a student if:

  • there are no contact details recorded in mySI-net; or
  • the amount of the uncollected funds is equal to or less than $55.

19.4 If the student does not complete a Student Fee Refund Request form or contact Student Fees and Scholarships within 30 days of the date of UQ notification to the student of uncollected funds, the student agrees that the uncollected funds are transferred to a University fund to support students in hardship.

19.5 Uncollected funds:

a) equal to or less than $55 will be ineligible for refund once transferred to a University fund to support students in hardship.

b) greater than $55, which have been transferred to a University fund to support students in hardship, may not be eligible for a refund.

20. Appeals

20.1 A student may seek a review of a refund decision by writing to the Academic Registrar, as per the provisions of the University's Student Grievance Resolution Policy.

20.2 Where a review of a decision made by the Academic Registrar is sought, a student may appeal in writing to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), as per the provisions of the University's Student Grievance Resolution Policy.

20.3 An appeal of a decision of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) related to the remission of a HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP debt can be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

21. Student Rights

Any agreement and the availability of complaints and appeals processes does not remove a student’s right to take further action under Australia’s consumer protection laws or prohibit a student’s right to pursue other legal remedies.

Further Information: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

Custodians
Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson
Custodians
Academic Registrar
Mr Mark Erickson