50% Pass Rate Rule – changes from 1 January 2022

The University of Divinity is an approved higher education provider that has been approved by the Australian Government to offer FEE-HELP loans to eligible students under the Higher Education Support Act (HESA) 2003 (https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2021C00264).

Students eligible for FEE-HELP must meet one of the following citizenship and residency requirements:

  • an Australian citizen who will complete at least one unit of their course of study in Australia
  • a NZ Special Category Visa (NZ SCV) holder who meets the long-term residency requirements and who is resident in Australia for the duration of their study
  • a permanent humanitarian visa holder who is resident in Australia for the duration of their study
  • a permanent visa holder who is undertaking bridging study for overseas-trained professionals and who is resident in Australia for the duration of their study
  • From 1 January 2021 students must also have a Unique Student Identifier (USI).

From 1 January 2022 all students undertaking Fee Help will have a 50% pass rate rule imposed on them for FEE-HELP courses.

Pass rate requirements apply to all commencing students commencing, including postgraduate research students.

A unit of study for purposes of the 50% pass-rate has the same meaning as a ‘unit of study’ as defined under HESA, regardless of the Equivalent Full Time Study Load (EFTSL) value of the unit.

Coursework students studying on a part time basis would have to complete the relevant number of units before the pass-rate is applicable to them and the time the student takes to complete the threshold number of units is not relevant to the calculation of the pass-rate.

Section 104-1A of HESA outlines that the 50% pass rate applies after the student has

  • attempted 8 or more units of study in a Bachelor level
  • or higher course or the 50% pass rate applies once the student has attempted 4 or more units in a sub bachelor course.

For students who do not complete the threshold number of units, normal academic suitability requirements are still in place as per the Student Progress Policy. Before enrolling a student in a unit of study, providers must assess whether the student is academically suited to that unit
according to HESA section 19-42. A student’s ability to pass previous units in their course would be relevant considerations in this assessment.

This means that from 1 January 2022, all commencing students enrolled with the University of Divinity will need to ensure that they pass at least 50% of their total attempted units across their course of study, otherwise they will need to pay their tuition fees upfront until they improve their
pass rate.

• If a student gets enrolled in a diploma course, uses FEE-HELP to pay for their Semester 1 fees, and in Semester 1 they undertake 4 units and fail 3, they will not be eligible to access FEE-HELP in Semester 2 as they needed to pass at least 2 units.
• Then if in Semester 2, having paid for the units upfront, the student undertook another 4 units (8 units in total), they would need to pass 3 of those in order to re-establish their FEE-HELP eligibility in their next Semester of study (i.e., 8 units attempted and 4 passed).

However, if a student can demonstrate special circumstances having adversely affected their academic performance, the university can allow consideration for these impacts. Special circumstances are defined as the specific requirements that a student must meet for their HELP
balance to be re-credited and their FEE-HELP debt to be removed, as set out in the Higher Education Support Act 2003 and its associated guidelines.

In addition, if a student chooses to change their course of study or change their Higher Education provider, their completion rate does not follow them and allows them to re-set the clock on the 50% pass rate rule.

Please see information below, it is available on the ATO’s website https://www.ato.gov.au/Rates/HELP,-TSL-and-SFSS-repayment-thresholds-and-rates/#HELPandTSLrepaymentthresholdsandrates201

The HELP loan limit in 2022 is $156,847 for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science (as defined in the Higher Education Support Act 2003), or eligible aviation students and $109,206 for all other students. Please refer to https://www.dese.gov.au/higher-education-loan-program/resources/2022-indexed-rates