The Australian Government recently introduced the Job Ready Graduates (JRG) Package legislation. This legislation changes the conditions you need to meet to receive Australian Government support during your studies such as Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and Higher Education Loan Program loans (HELP). One of the conditions that was introduced is Low Completion.
A low completion rate is a completion rate of less than 50 per cent of the courses you have attempted, after you have attempted either;
- 8 (eight) or more courses in a bachelor level or higher program, or,
- 4 (four) or more courses in a higher education program lower than a bachelor program).
These changes only apply to commencing students from 1 January 2022 and continuing students who transfer to a new program from 1 January 2022.
These changes also apply only to you, if you are receiving Commonwealth Assistance through enrolling in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) and/or receiving HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP.
Frequently asked questions
Who does low completion apply to?
The low completion rate applies to:
- All students accessing Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) including those eligible for HECS-HELP; and
- Domestic Fee Paying students accessing FEE-HELP; and
- Those who commence or transfer into in a new program from 1 January 2022 (i.e. it does not apply to students who enrolled in their current program prior to 1 January 2022). The low completion rate applies within a program, meaning that if a student transfers to a new program; their low completion rate will reset for the new program only. Similarly, if a student is enrolled in two programs and has a low completion rate in one of them, their other program is not affected.
The low completion rate applies within a program until the student raises their pass-rate in that program to 50 per cent or higher again, at which point they would be eligible for Commonwealth assistance again within that program.
What is the purpose of the low completion requirement?
The purpose of this legislation is to prevent students from incurring a large amount of HELP debt that they will need to repay in the future, for studies they are either unsuited for or are not progressing well in.
What is considered a low completion rate?
A low completion rate is a fail rate of more than 50% of the courses you have undertaken after you have undertaken eight or more courses in a bachelor level or higher program.
A low completion for Diplomas and enabling programs is a fail rate of more than 50% of courses after you have undertaken 4 courses.
Students who do not meet the requirements will lose access to all Commonwealth assistance, including FEE-HELP assistance.
What happens if I have a low completion rate?
You will lose access to your Commonwealth Supported Place, HECS-HELP and/or FEE-HELP.
If you are in a Commonwealth supported place, your status will be changed to a domestic fee payer for the current program and you will not have access to Commonwealth Assistance, whilst you remain in your current program until your pass rate lifts to 50% or better.
If you are a domestic fee paying student accessing FEE-HELP, you will remain a domestic fee payer but your access to FEE-HELP will be removed in your current program, until your pass rate lifts to 50% or better.
What is a completed course?
A completed course is:
- any pass grade (i.e. PS, CR, DN, HD, SY, EC, CM, CO, XE) or; an any course dropped without academic penalty after the census date (NF grade) or; any course transferred from another program, that contributes to your units of credit.
Courses credited from another program will only be considered a completed course, when calculating your completion rate and if those credited courses were from teaching periods that began on or after 1 January 2022.
What is NOT a successfully completed course?
Any course with a fail grade, including any course dropped after the drop with academic penalty date (i.e. FL, AF, NC, UF, AW).
These courses will count as fails towards your low completion rate.
What is considered an undertaken course?
Any course that you enrol in and remain enrolled in after census date has passed for which you have incurred a fee.
What courses are not considered to be undertaken?
Any course dropped before the census date and any course that did not incur a fee (i.e. Audited courses, work experience courses that do not have a unit of credit value).
When will I be assessed for low completion?
At the end of each term/semester/hexamester after results have been released.
What are my options if I reach the low completion rate threshold?
If you lose your Commonwealth supported place you have three options:
- Continue your program by paying upfront tuition fees. If you increase your completion rate to 50 per cent or higher, you will be eligible for Commonwealth assistance for your program again. Your status as a Commonwealth supported or FEE-HELP student cannot be retrospectively applied. Commonwealth Assistance will apply from the term you are again eligible to receive Commonwealth Assistance, not for the term(s) that you were fee paying used to raise your completion rate.
- Transfer to a new program at UNSW. If you change to a new program, your previous completion rate will not carry over and, if eligible, you will be able to access Commonwealth assistance for your new program. We will need to assess whether this new course is academically right for you. Please note, should you choose to apply for a program transfer, you will not be guaranteed an offer of a place. Entry into all UNSW programs is based on competitive selection and there may be limited places available.
- Apply for fee remission if you can demonstrate special circumstances so that the course/s don’t count as fails when calculating your completion.
Low completion calculation
Courses have different unit of credit (UOC) values – how does this affect my completion rate calculation?
A course is any single course with a unique course code regardless of its unit of credit value.
Is a course counted if I drop it before the census date?
No. Dropping a course prior to the census date is considered not attempting the course and no grade or charges will be levied.
I have transfer credit from a previous program. Do these courses count as completed courses?
Yes, if they were taken after 1 January 2022.
If I improve my completion rate can I regain access to a commonwealth supported place, HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP?
Yes, once your completion rate is back to 50% or higher.
For example, if a student failed 5 out of 8 courses in their first year, moved to domestic fee paying, then passed the next three courses, 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 courses).
Can my commonwealth supported place, HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP be applied retrospectively once I improve my completion rate?
No. If you choose to continue as a domestic fee-paying student, then the fees, cannot be retrospectively changed to include Commonwealth support or be added to your HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP debt.
What counts as changing program?
Transferring to another program with a different program code.
You cannot just change stream, major or specialisation within the same program.
If I am in a dual degree, does dropping one part count as changing program?
Yes. Conversely, changing to a dual degree program from a single program also counts as a change of program.
If I transfer program, will my previously completed courses still count towards my new program requirements?
You will be assessed for credit transfer and any appropriate credit from your previous program will be applied to your new program.
Does my low completion rate reset when I transfer program?
How do I apply to change programs?
Please note, should you choose to apply for a program transfer, you will not be guaranteed an offer of a place. Entry into all UNSW programs is based on competitive selection and there may be limited places available.
Find out more about Program Transfer.
Fee Remission/Special Circumstances
What is Fee remission/Special Circumstances and who can apply?
Having a low completion rate, or trying to improve one's completion rate, is not grounds for being considered for Fee remission/special circumstances.
Special circumstances are:
- Beyond your control and
- Did not make their full impact on you until on or after the census date and
- Made it impracticable for you to complete the requirements for the course in the period during which you undertook or were to undertake the course.
Special circumstances do not include a lack of knowledge or understanding of requirements under the schemes or your incapacity to repay a HELP debt.
Circumstances are beyond your control if a situation occurs that a reasonable person would consider is not due to the person’s action or inaction, either direct or indirect, and for which the person is not responsible. This situation must be unusual, uncommon or abnormal.
Circumstances do not make their full impact on you until on or after the census date if your circumstances:
- occur before the census date but worsen after the census date or
- occur before the census date but the full effect does not become apparent until after the census date or
- occur only after the census date.
Circumstances which made it impracticable for you to complete the requirements for the course may include (but are not limited to):
- Medical circumstances
- Family/personal circumstances
- Employment related circumstances
- Course related circumstances
How do I apply for Fee Remission/Special Circumstances?
If my Fee Remission/Special Circumstances application is approved after I have chosen to continue in my program as a domestic fee paying student, can my commonwealth supported place be reinstated retrospectively?
No. It cannot be applied retrospectively.
If you choose to continue in a domestic fee paying beyond the census date, whilst your Fee Remission application is still pending, you are unable to be changed back to a Commonwealth Supported Place, even if your Fee Remission application is successful in improving your completion rate to 50% or more.
You will be able to resume in a Commonwealth supported place from the next enrolment period.