House of Representatives

Higher Education Legislation Amendment (2006 Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2006

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Honourable Julie Bishop MP)

Schedule 3-Setting student contribution amounts and tuition fees

Part 1-Amendments

Higher Education Support Act 2003

Division 19 of Chapter 2 sets out the quality and accountability requirements higher education providers must meet to receive grants of assistance which include the contribution and fee requirements in subdivision 19-F (sections 19-85 to 19-105).

Item 1 Subsection 19-87(2)

Section 19-87 requires providers to determine a student contribution amounts for all places in units they offer. Item 1 repeals subsection 19-87(2) and substitutes new subsections 19-87(2) and (2A).

Proposed new subsection 19-87(2) has the effect of providing that the provider must determine (for places in the unit) one or more student contribution amounts that are to apply to students who may enrol in the unit during the period.

Proposed new subsection 19-87(2A) has the effect of providing that, in determining more than one student contribution amount under subsection 19-87(2), the provider may have regard to any matters the provider considers appropriate, other than matters specified in the Higher Education Provider Guidelines as matters to which a provider must not have regard.

Item 2 Section 19-88

Repeals section 19-88 which dealt with the determination of student contribution amounts for places in units for student cohorts.

Item 3 Subsections 19-90(2) and (3)

Section 19-90 sets out how providers must determine tuition fees for all students. Item 3 repeals subsections 19-90(2) and (3) and substitutes new subsections.

Proposed new subsection 19-90(2) provides that the provider must determine (for the unit) one or more fees that are to apply to students who may enrol in the unit during the period.

Proposed new subsection 19-90(3) provides that, in determining more than one fee under subsection19-90(2), the provider may have regard to any matters the provider considers appropriate, other than matters specified in the Higher Education Provider Guidelines as matters to which a provider must not have regard.

Item 4 Section 19-91

Repeals section 19-91 which dealt with the determination of tuition fees for students in student cohorts.

Item 5 Paragraph 19-95(2)(a)

Section 19-95 requires higher education providers to give the Minister a schedule of student contribution amounts for places and tuition fees in an approved form. Item 5 repeals paragraph 19-95(2)(a) and substitutes new paragraphs 19-95(2)(a) and (aa).

Proposed new paragraph 19-95(2)(a) has the effect of providing that the provider must ensure that the schedule provides sufficient information to enable a person to work out, for each unit of study the provider provides (or is to provide):

·
the person's student contribution amount; and
·
if the provider determined more than one student contribution amount for places in a unit under section 19-87-which of those student contribution amounts applies to the person.

Proposed new paragraph 19-95(2)(aa) has the effect of providing that the provider must also ensure that the schedule provides sufficient information to enable a person to work out (for each unit of study the provider provides or is to provide) the person's tuition fee and, if the provider determined more than one tuition fee for a unit under section 19-90, which of those tuition fees applies to the person.

Item 6 Sections 19-97 and 19-101

Repeals sections 19-97 (which dealt with information on student contribution amounts for places and tuition fees for student cohorts) and 19-101 (which defined the meaning of student cohort ).

Item 7 Section 19-105

Repeals the definition of tuition fee in section 19-105 and substitutes a new definition which defines a person's tuition fee for a unit of study as:

·
if only one fee has been determined for the unit under subsection 19-90(2)-that fee; or
·
if more than one fee has been determined for the unit under that subsection 19-90(2)-the fee determined under that subsection that applies to the person.

Item 8 Subsection 93-5(1)

Division 93 of Part 3-2 of Chapter 3 (sections 93-1 to 93-15) specifies how amounts of

HECS-HELP assistance are worked out while section 93-5 sets out how the student contribution amount component is calculated. Item 8 repeals subsection 93-5(1) and substitutes a new subsection which has the effect of altering the calculation of the student contribution amount for a place component of the calculation so that the person's student contribution amount for a place in the unit is:

·
if only one student contribution amount has been determined for places in the unit under subsection 19-87(2)-that student contribution amount; or
·
if more than one student contribution amount has been determined for places in the unit under subsection 19-87(2)-the student contribution amount determined under that subsection that applies to the person.

Item 9 Subsection 104-4(2)

Subdivision 104-A of Division 104 of Part 3-3 of Chapter 3 (sections 104-1 to 104-10) sets out the basic rules about who is entitled to FEE-HELP assistance, while section 104-4 sets out the obligations of Open Universities Australia to set a tuition fee and census date for each unit of study they offer. Item 9 repeals subsection 104-4(2) (dealing with setting a tuition fee) and substitutes new subsections 104-4(2) and (2AA).

Proposed new subsection 104-4(2) provides that Open Universities Australia must determine (for the unit) one or more fees that are to apply to students to whom Open Universities Australia provides access to the unit during the period.

Proposed new subsection 104-4 (2AA) provides that, in determining more than one fee under subsection 104-4(2), Open Universities Australia may have regard to any matters it considers appropriate, other than matters specified in the FEE-HELP Guidelines as matters to which Open Universities Australia must not have regard.

Item 10 Clause 1 of Schedule 1 (definition of student cohort)

Repeals the definition of student cohort in the Dictionary at clause 1 of Schedule 1.

Item 11 Clause 1 of Schedule 1 (paragraph (b) of the definition of Tuition fee)

Repeals paragraph (b) of the definition of Tuition fee in the Dictionary at clause 1 of Schedule 1. Paragraph (b) of the definition relates to units of study offered by Open Universities Australia. For those units Tuition fee will now mean:

·
if only one fee has been determined for the unit under subsection 104-4(2)-that fee; or
·
if more than one fee has been determined for the unit under subsection 104-4(2)-the fee determined under that subsection that applies to the person.

Part 2-Saving provisions

Item 12 Saving provision relating to substitution of subsection 19-90(3) (determination of different tuition fees for different courses)

A saving provision which provides that if, immediately before subsection 19-90(3) of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 was repealed and substituted by item 3 of this Schedule, a determination made in accordance with subsection 19-90(3) had effect, that determination is taken to continue in effect as if it had been made in accordance with subsection 19-90(3) of that Act as in force after the commencement of this Schedule.

Item 13 Saving provision for determinations of student contribution amounts for student cohorts

Saves determinations of student contribution amounts for student cohorts.

Subitem (1) provides that item 13 applies to a determination (the saved determination ) made by a higher education provider under section 19-88 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 before that section was repealed by item 2 of this Schedule.

Subitem (2) provides that section 19-97 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 continues to apply in relation to the saved determination despite the repeal of that section by item 6 of this Schedule.

Subitem (3) provides that the definition of a person's student contribution amount for a unit in subsection 93-5(1) of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 , is modified if:

·
the person is in the student cohort to which the saved determination relates; and
·
the saved determination has not been revoked under subitem (4); and
·
the unit forms part of a course of study with the provider who made the saved determination; and
·
the person is undertaking the unit with the provider; and
·
the person satisfies any conditions that apply to the cohort under the saved determination;

so that the person's student contribution amount for a place in the unit is the student contribution amount for the unit specified in the saved determination.

Subitem (4) provides that the provider may revoke the saved determination if the provider:

·
does so before the date set out in the Higher Education Provider Guidelines and in the circumstances (if any) specified in those Guidelines; or
·
does so with the written approval of the Minister.

Subitem (5) provides that, from the time the provider revokes the saved determination, a determination in effect under section 19-87 starts to apply (according to its terms) to the students who were in the cohort.

Subitem (6) provides that, before revoking the saved determination, the provider must notify the students who are in the cohort of the provider's intention to do so.

Subitem (7) provides that the Higher Education Provider Guidelines made under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 may provide for matters required or permitted by item 13 to be provided or necessary (or convenient) to be provided in order to carry out or give effect to this item.

Subitem (8) provides that expressions used in item 13 that are defined in the Higher Education Support Act 2003 have the same meaning in this item as they have in that Act.

Item 14 Saving provision for determinations of tuition fees for student cohorts

Saves determinations of tuition fees for student cohorts.

Subitem (1) provides that item 14 applies to a determination (the saved determination ) made by a higher education provider under section 19-91 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 before that section was repealed by item 4 of this Schedule.

Subitem (2) provides that section 19-97 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 continues to apply in relation to the saved determination despite the repeal of that section by item 6 of this Schedule.

Subitem (3) provides that the definition of a person's tuition fee for a unit in section 19-105 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 , is modified if:

·
the person is in the student cohort to which the saved determination relates; and
·
the saved determination has not been revoked under subitem (4); and
·
the unit forms part of a course of study with the provider who made the saved determination; and
·
the person is undertaking the unit with the provider; and
·
the person satisfies any conditions that apply to the cohort under the saved determination;

so that the person's tuition fee for the unit is the fee for the unit specified in the saved determination.

Subitem (4) provides that the provider may revoke the saved determination if the provider:

·
does so before the date set out in the Higher Education Provider Guidelines and in the circumstances (if any) specified in those Guidelines; or
·
does so with the written approval of the Minister.

Subitem (5) provides that, from the time the provider revokes the saved determination, a determination in effect under section 19-90 starts to apply (according to its terms) to the students who were in the cohort.

Subitem (6) provides that, before revoking the saved determination, the provider must notify the students who are in the cohort of the provider's intention to do so.

Subitem (7) provides that the Higher Education Provider Guidelines made under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 may provide for matters required or permitted by this item to be provided or necessary (or convenient) to be provided in order to carry out or give effect to item 14.

Subitem (8) provides that expressions used in item 14 that are defined in the Higher Education Support Act 2003 have the same meaning in this item as they have in that Act.


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