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. 

Remission of debt in special circumstances is a process 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.

Remission of debt in special circumstances is about the refund/re-credit of fees and does not relate to grades.

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.

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 can provide supporting documentation to confirm your personal statement.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Course related circumstances

Remission of debt in special circumstances does not apply to course related circumstances, please contact your Faculty.

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 enquiry to Student Complaints to have your situation investigated.

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.

What supporting documentation do I need?

What documentation do I need to support my application?

Your application needs to include independent documentation to support your personal statement.

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 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.

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 will contact them regarding the information they provide.

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:

  • correspondence with your faculty, unit chair or lecturer NB we may contact the faculty for more information
  • a Police report
  • a death certificate
  • a carers certificate.

The following documents are NOT accepted for remission applications:

  • documentation dated outside the relevant study period
  • travel itineraries
  • hospital admission statements
  • pharmacy statement or prescription
  • pathology report
  • Special Consideration Medical form - this is for Special Consideration only

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.

All relevant sections including SECTION F: Details of your special circumstances, must be complete before submitting your application. Incomplete applications will be returned to you.

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

Download and complete the Commonwealth supported and FEE-HELP Remission of debt (PDF, 596.1KB) in special circumstances application form.

Fee paying domestic students

Download and complete the Fee paying domestic Refund of debt in special circumstances (PDF, 553.0KB) application form.

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Page custodian: Division of Student Administration