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 and your Student Learning Entitlement recredited.

If 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
  • Student Learning Entitlement recredited
  • the unit not count towards the completion rate for Commonwealth assistance.

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. This means, if you provide information in your personal statement, you need to have documentation to support your statement. We may not follow up with you to request more documents.

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 and 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.

You can expect an outcome within 6 weeks of your application being received by the University.

How are applications assessed?

Applications for Remission of debt in special circumstances must meet the following Commonwealth Government criteria:

  • application is received within 12 months from the date of withdrawal or the end of the study period
  • your special circumstances are unusual, abnormal or uncommon for you and 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.

To have your application approved, it must meet all of the above criteria. Applications are assessed based on the supporting documentation provided. You should ensure you provide the most relevant and informative documents to support your application. We will not request further documentation from you and will not source external documents on your behalf.

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?

To meet the special circumstance criteria, your circumstance must be unusual, uncommon or abnormal for you and be beyond your control. The full impact on your studies must occur on or after the census date.

Determination of special circumstances is based largely on the information and documentation provided in your application. Assumptions about your special circumstances will not be made. The University has no obligation to seek additional supporting information for persons (e.g. doctors) beyond verifying the authenticity of a document.

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.

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

All medical documents, letters or certificates provided with your application may be verified 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. Please note, choosing to increase hours of work or to undertake additional employment is not considered beyond a student's control.

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.

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 may not apply to course related circumstances, please contact your Faculty in the first instance. 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.

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.

What supporting documentation do I need?

What documentation do I need to support my application?

Your application will be assessed based on the documents provided. Therefore, you should ensure you provide the most relevant and informative documents to support your application. We will not request further documentation from you and will not source documents on your behalf.

  • 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
    • if you apply based on family/personal reasons (not covered by medical or employment reasons) you must provide documents from an independent source who can confirm your circumstances.
  • Supporting documentation must be:
    • date-based - that is include the date your circumstances first occurred or escalated and state the length of time you were impacted
    • relevant to the study period, census date and/or exam period
    • detail the special circumstance/s which occurred
    • explain the impact they had on your ability to complete your studies
    • signed by the author and be on official letterhead.
  • If you reference an assessment extension or special consideration in your personal statement, you must provide copies of emails from Deakin University confirming the original due date and the new due date for assessments and/or examinations. Your application will be considered incomplete if you do not provide these documents.
  • 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.

Medical documents

All medical documentation must be in the form of a letter from your healthcare professional who saw you during the relevant study period. If you provide medical documentation you should inform your healthcare professional that a representative of Deakin University may contact them to verify the document. Medical documents must:

  • confirm the date of appointments attended during the study period
  • include information from a medical professional who saw you at the time
  • confirm the date your circumstances first occurred or escalated
  • confirm the dates/length of time you were impacted
  • confirm an impact on your studies

If your medical documents do not state the date your circumstances change and confirm the dates the health professional saw you during the trimester, your application may not be successful. Medical documents must provide date based information relevant to the study period.

Employment documents

If your application is based on employment reasons please provide a letter from your employer stating

  • the date your employment conditions were changed
  • the length of time the changes were in place for
  • what changes were made
  • that these changes were made by your employer.

Employment letters must be on letterhead and include the contact details of the writer.

Personal/family documents

The documents you provide will depend on your circumstances. Please ensure you provide independent documents that confirm your circumstances impacted your studies after the relevant census date. Letters from family and friends are considered support documents, therefore you must provide other independent documents to support your personal statement.

If your application is based on carer duties, you must provide a carer certificate or other independent document to confirm the details of your carer duties. Please note, letters from friends of family members are not considered independent.

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. Clear photos of documents are accepted.

What if my circumstances are ongoing?

If you have pre-existing circumstances 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 personal, medical and/or employment documents:

  • a Police report
  • a death certificate
  • legal documents
  • correspondence with your faculty, unit chair or lecturer. 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).

The following documents are NOT accepted for remission applications on their own, other documentation 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.

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.

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 period

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 complete and submit an application form within the application period.

Not being aware of the remission process or a HELP debt are not acceptable reasons for waiving the application period. 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 by completing the online application form.

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.
Last updated:
Page custodian: Student Services