Eligibility Conditions for Commonwealth Assistance

On 1 January 2021 the federal governments implemented changes to higher education funding through the Job-ready Graduates Package with the overall aim to improve higher education for all students.

As part of the progressive roll out of the package additional student protection measures have been placed on all higher education institutions in Australia to ensure students do not unjustly accumulate  large HELP debts. These additional protection measures came into effect on January 1, 2022.

The new protection measures introduce new eligibility requirements for Commonwealth assistance, for  you to receive commonwealth assistance CQUniversity must ensure you are:

  • assess you as academically suited to your course
  • limit your enrolment to 2.0 Equivalent Full Time Study Load (EFTSL) (i.e. two years or less) worth of study per year unless CQUniversity has assessed you as academically suited to undertake more study
  • ensure you maintain a reasonable completion rate.

If you fail to meet any of the above criteria during your course you will be at risk of losing your  Commonwealth Supported Place and/or your eligibility to access the Higher Education Loan Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

CQUniversity will be required to assess students as ‘genuine’ as part of their eligibility for continued Commonwealth assistance. The factors CQUniversity may use to determine whether you are a genuine student are:

  • your engagement with your course
  • whether you have been provided with information about the requirements for, and the cost and duration of your course
  • whether you satisfy the course requirements and complete your assessments
  • if studying online, how many times you log into your course
  • if you have provided up-to-date contact details that the Department can use to confirm your enrolment
  • any enrolments in other courses that may make it impossible or highly improbable for you to complete your course.

CQUniversity will ensure you are academically suitable for your course via the course application process and your progression through your course.

CQUniversity must ensure students’ progress through their course at a reasonable rate. You will be deemed as having a low completion rate when you fail more than 50 per cent of the units of study you   have attempted, after you have attempted eight or more units of study in a bachelor level or higher course (1 year full time) or four or more units in a higher education course lower than a bachelor level.

If you have a low completion rate in 2022 or thereafter, you will not be eligible for Commonwealth assistance (studying in a CSP or getting HELP loans for your study).

If you have a low completion rate, you can:

  • continue your course by paying upfront. If you pay upfront and increase your completion rate to  50 per cent or higher, you will be eligible for Commonwealth assistance for your course again.
  • transfer to a new course at the same or a different provider. If you change to a new course, your previous completion rate will not carry over and you will be able to access Commonwealth assistance for your new course.
  • apply for consideration for one or more of your failed units. For CQUniversity to not count units you have failed when calculating your completion rate, you will need to prove that ‘special circumstances’ applied to you while you were studying those units.
  • Subjects with a fail grade.
  • Subjects where a student has withdrawn after census date and not had a successful outcome from a Withdrawal without Financial Penalty.

An Equivalent Full Time Study Load (or EFTSL) is a measure of the study load of a student studying on a full-time basis. An EFTSL value is a measure of an amount of study, e.g. one EFTSL is equivalent to one year of full-time study in a higher education course. A typical full time study load over a year is usually 8 units of 0.125 EFTSL each.

If you would like to study more than 2.0 EFTSL (2 years or more) worth of study in one year and still receive Commonwealth assistance, CQUniversity will need to assess you as academically suitable and able to successfully undertake that study. As requirements for different courses vary, you should talk to our student engagement team in the first instance about what you need to do to prove your suitability. If you are enrolled in more than one higher education provider at once, you will need to be assessed as suitable by each provider you are enrolled with.

If CQUniversity approves you for a HELP loan when you are not eligible and was at fault in doing so, CQUniversity will not be able to pursue you for your unpaid tuition costs after your HELP loan is cancelled.

The progression requirements do not apply to continuing students, even if a continuing student has a low pass-rate. The new requirements only apply to students with their first unit of enrollment in Term 1, 2022.

SLE is used to measure the timeframe you could be enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place.  This entitlement is 7 years full-time or the part time equivalent.

The SLE requirement applies to all CSP students in a CSP who are undertaking subjects with a census date from 1 January 2022 onwards.  Subjects undertaken before this date do not count towards the SLE.

If you run out of SLE, you are no longer eligible to study in a Commonwealth Supported place.  If you are this situation you can:

  • Be charged tuition fee paying rates and continue to pay for your study using a FEE-HELP loan ( if you are eligible and up to maximum of your HELP balance ); or
  • Pay your tuition fees upfront; or
  • Resume your studies when you accrue more SLE

You maybe eligible for additional SLE.  For more information refer to the government StudyAssist

You can find out more information on the Job-ready Graduate Package website, or if you have a specific enquiry you can book a conversation with our student engagement team.