Remission of debt in special circumstances for domestic students

If you withdraw from your unit/s after the relevant census date due to special circumstances, as a domestic student, you can apply under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA) to have your HELP debt remitted. 

Please note: If you have posted (mailed) your application it may not have been received due to the current situation and office closures. We advise you to complete the online form below in the How to Apply section.

If you are unhappy about the new grading schema or you have concerns about studying online, remission is not an available option for you. Please submit a Student Complaint.

Remission of debt in special circumstances is administered by Deakin University on behalf of the Commonwealth Government. The Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA) allows students who, due to special circumstances, withdraw from their unit/s after the relevant census date or fail a unit, to apply to have their:

  • HECS-HELP debt for those units remitted
  • HECS-HELP debt for a unit consisting wholly of work experience in industry (WEI) remitted
  • FEE-HELP balance re-credited
  • Up-front payment of a student contribution or tuition fee refunded.

You cannot apply for a re-credit or remission if you have successfully completed or are currently enrolled in the unit of study. Note: If you are still enrolled in a unit you should consider applying for Special Consideration before applying for Remission of debt. Alternatively if you are still enrolled you must withdraw from the unit before submitting your remission application.

Applications are not automatically approved. All applications must meet Commonwealth Government criteria and be submitted within 12 months of the end of the study period or withdrawal date. It is the students responsibility to provide a completed application form within this time limit. If you are given information about the remission process by another area of the University please ensure your application is submitted within the time limit. The University will not follow up applications.

Remission of debt in special circumstances is a financial matter about the refund/re-credit of fees. It does not relate to grades. Reviewing a student’s academic grades is independent of the remittance of a HELP debt and/or refund of up-front payments. (DESE 42.6 Academic review and re-credit or remission of HELP debt). If you have any concerns regarding your grades, please follow the Review of results process.

Deakin offers a range of health and wellbeing services to help students stay healthy and safe - physically, mentally and spiritually. We encourage you to access these services if you are in need of immediate or ongoing support.

Due to current circumstances, there may be a delay beyond 30 working days in receiving your Remission of debt outcome. We appreciate your patience during this time.

How are applications assessed?

Your can apply for Remission of debt in special circumstances if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • apply in writing, within 12 months from the date of withdrawal or the end of the study period, or it is considered it was not possible for your application to be made before the end of the application period
  • your special circumstances are beyond your control
  • your special circumstances did not make their full impact on you until on, or after the census date
  • your special circumstances made it impracticable for you to complete the requirements for the unit/s during the study period
  • you provide supporting documentation to confirm your personal statement.

You are not eligible to apply for Remission of debt in special circumstances if you have a proven academic misconduct outcome, as this is considered to be within your control. If you have a pending academic misconduct hearing, you will need to wait for the outcome of that hearing, before you apply.

What is a special circumstance?

A special circumstance is a circumstance that is considered unusual, uncommon or abnormal. The full impact on your studies must occur after the census date.

If your special circumstance is known to you before census date (a pre-existing condition), your application must demonstrate the date when your circumstance changed/escalated and the impact it had on your ability to complete your studies.

If you experienced difficulty discontinuing from a unit or your course, please do not apply for Remission of debt in special circumstances. Please contact Student Central or make an inquiry to Student Complaints to have your situation investigated.

Medical circumstances

Your medical circumstance must have occurred or changed/escalated (for ongoing circumstances) after census date, to such an extent that you were unable to continue studying.

Pregnancy or child birth without complications is not considered a special circumstance for Remission of debt purposes. In addition, if it is not you who gave birth or experienced the pregnancy related complications you will need to obtain detailed medical advice explaining how your studies were impacted by this circumstance.

If you apply based on medical reasons you must provide medical documents.

All medical documents, letters or certificates provided with your application may be confirmed directly with the medical practice or health care professional. We recommend you inform your healthcare professional of this when requesting documentation.

Family/personal circumstances

You family or personal circumstances must have occurred or changed/escalated (for ongoing circumstances) after census date to such an extent that you were unable to continue studying.

If you apply based on family or personal reasons you must provide independent supporting documents for example a carer certificate.

Examples include: death or severe medical problems within your family or unforeseen natural disasters. If your family or personal circumstances is known to you before the census date, for example family care responsibilities, you will need to demonstrate an unplanned escalation in your care responsibilities.

Employment related circumstances

Your employment related circumstances must have occurred after the census date to such an extent that you were unable to continue studying.

If you apply based on employment reasons you must provide a letter from your employer.

Examples include: unplanned changes to your employment conditions or your employer increases your hours or expectation on you after census date and these changes have a significant effect on your ability to study. The change must be beyond your control. Changes after census date where you were aware of the new employment conditions is not considered a special circumstance for Remission of debt purposes.

Ongoing or pre-existing circumstances

If you have pre-existing or ongoing circumstances, your application needs to clearly demonstrate how your circumstances changed after the census date. If no change or escalation occurs, remission is not available to you.

Course related circumstances

Remission of debt in special circumstances does not apply to course related circumstances, please contact your Faculty. If you were unhappy with your mode of studying, please contact Student Central.

If you did not follow advice from the University, prior to census date, regarding withdrawal or intermission from your studies, and you later withdraw after the census date, this does not meet the remission criteria as it is not considered outside your control.

Academic misconduct is not considered a special circumstance.

What supporting documentation do I need?

What documentation do I need to support my application?

Your application must include independent documentation to support your personal statement/s. All personal statements must have supporting documents. This means,  if you apply based on medical reasons, you must provide medical letters/documents, if you apply based on employment reasons, you must provide a letter from your employer and if you apply based on family/personal reasons (not covered by medial or employment reasons) you must provide documents from an independent source who can confirm your circumstances.

Supporting documentation must be date-based, relevant to the study period, census date and/or exam period, detailing the special circumstance/s which occurred and the impact they had on your ability to complete your studies. Documentation must signed by the author and be on official letterhead.

Examples of supporting documentation include, a letter from your doctor, counsellor or employer to support your claims. Documents must clearly indicate the date/s when your circumstances occurred/changed and the impact on your studies.

If you reference an assessment extension or special consideration in your personal statement, you must provide copies of emails from Deakin University confirming the new due date for assessments and/or examinations. Your application will be considered incomplete if you do not provide these documents.

Medical documents

All medical documentation must be in the form of a letter from your healthcare professional. If you provide medical documentation you should inform your healthcare professional that a representative of Deakin University may contact them regarding the information they provide. Medical documents must confirm the date of appointments attended and include information from a medical professional who saw you at the time.

Employment documents

If your application is based on employment reasons you must provide a letter from your employer stating when your employment conditions were changed, what changes were made and that these changes were made by your employer.

Please note, if you have provided documents to Deakin for another process please provide them again if they are relevant to your Remission of debt in special circumstances application. Alternatively you can contact the relevant department to request they forward your documents to remiss-debt@deakin.edu.au.

What file types should I provide

Acceptable files include, PDF, ZIP and JPEG. Please convert Word files to one of these types before submitting your application.

What if my circumstances are ongoing?

If you have a pre-existing condition your documentation needs to clearly demonstrate how your circumstances changed after the census date. If no change or escalation occurs remission is not available to you.

What other documents can I provide to support my application?

You may wish to include the following documents to support your medical and/or employment documents:

  • correspondence with your faculty, unit chair or lecturer, NB we may contact the faculty for more information (emails are considered a support document, therefore you must provide other independent documents to support your application).
  • a Police report
  • a death certificate
  • a carer certificate.

The following documents are NOT accepted for remission applications on their own, other documentation such as those listed above must also be provided:

  • statutory declarations or letters from family members are not considered independent
  • documentation dated outside the relevant study period - you must provide documents relevant to the study period
  • travel itineraries - you must provide travel documents that show when your travel was booked and the dates of travel
  • hospital admission statements - you must provide a letter from a health professional
  • pharmacy statement or prescription
  • medical documents not accompanied by a letter from your medical provider
  • pathology report
  • Special Consideration Medical form - this is for Special Consideration only. You must provide a letter from your doctor explaining your circumstances and supporting your personal statement.

Any student who is found to have submitted a false  statement or supporting documentation will be referred to the Faculty Student  Misconduct Committee.

Important information about the Student Services and Amenities Fee

If you:

  • withdraw from unit(s) after the applicable census date, the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) will still apply and no refund will be given
  • have elected to defer payment of your SSAF through SA-HELP, a HELP debt will still be incurred and form part of your accumulated HELP debt
  • have not paid your SSAF the fee will remain outstanding and must be paid.

How do I apply?

You must apply to the University in writing within 12  months from the date you withdraw from a unit or the end of the relevant study period (whichever occurs first)*. Applications must be on one of the forms below.

Applications must be date-based, detailing the special circumstance/s which occurred and the impact they had on your ability to complete your studies.  Where an application involves more than one study period, a separate application form and supporting documentation is required for each study each period.

Applications must include independent supporting documentation, for example, a letter from your doctor, counsellor or employer to support your claims. Letters from healthcare professionals must clearly indicate the date/s when your circumstances changed and the impact on your studies. For more information go to Supporting documentation.

If you have a pre-existing condition your application needs to clearly demonstrate how your circumstances changed after the census date.  If no change or escalation occurs remission is not available to you.

All medical documents, letters or certificates provided with your application will be confirmed directly with the medical practice or health care professional. We recommend you inform your healthcare professional of this when requesting documentation.

Any student who is found to have submitted a false statement or supporting documentation will be referred to the Faculty Student Misconduct Committee.

Commonwealth supported and FEE-HELP students

Complete the Commonwealth supported and FEE-HELP Remission of debt in special circumstances application form.

Fee paying domestic students

Complete the Fee paying domestic Refund of debt in special circumstances application form.

*Request for waiver of application time limit

Commonwealth legislation requires Remission of debt in special circumstances applications to be submitted within 12 months of the date of subject withdrawal, or if the subject is failed, within 12 months from the end of the study period in which the subject was undertaken. The Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cth) (HESA), 36-23 (b) provides for a waiver of the application period only on the grounds that it would not be, or was not, possible for the application to be made before the end of that period.

Applications submitted outside the 12-month time limit will not be considered unless you can demonstrate, with documentary evidence, that it was not possible for you to apply within this timeframe. Not being aware of the remission process or a HELP debt are not acceptable reasons for waiving the 12-month application time limit. Information is publicly available on the Deakin website and is accessible to all students.

Applications for a waiver of the 12-month application time limit can be submitted via email to: remiss-debt@deakin.edu.au

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