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House of Representatives

Higher Education Legislation Amendment (2005 Measures No. 2) Bill 2005

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Honourable Dr Brendan Nelson MP)

Outline and financial impact

Outline

The Bill will amend the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to:

·
Clarify the nature of the review procedures which can be made under the Higher Education Provider Guidelines (s19-45).
·
Extend the scope of reviewable decisions to include those made in respect of students undertaking work experience in industry (ss19-45, 19-50, 19-60, 36-22, 206-1, 209-1, 238-1).
·
Ensure that the requirements for a review by request correspond with the requirements for reviews initiated by a review officer (ss19-45, 209-10).
·
Allow publishing of more than one schedule of student contribution amounts and tuition fees per year (ss19-87, 19-90, 19-95).
·
Clarify provisions in relation to cancelling enrolments of people without tax file numbers (ss 36-23, 79-1, 79-20, 104-27, 110-5, 137-5, 137-10, 193-5).
·
Allow for the Secretary of the Department of Education Science and Training to delegate power to Higher Education Providers (HEPs) to repay student contributions and remit HECS-HELP debts in relation to work experience in industry units (ss36-22, 238-1).
·
Ensure that subsection 79-1(1) (dealing with re-crediting a person's SLE) and section 36-22 (dealing with work experience in industry) are mutually exclusive.
·
Extend OS-HELP eligibility to students who have at least 0.5 EFTSL left to complete in their course of study (s118-1).
·
Clarify provisions in relation to working out an accumulated HELP debt (s140-25).
·
Allow for more than one date to be specified for the publishing of census dates and Equivalent Full Time Student Load (EFTSL) values (s169-25).
·
Clarify that a student accessing HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP assistance must provide their Tax File Number each time they enrol in a new course of study (s187-1).
·
Provide that guidelines issued by the Commissioner of Taxation are legislative instruments for the purposes of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 (ss187-1, 193-5).
·
Clarify the indexation formulae in the Act can apply to amounts specified in Guidelines (ss198-1, 198-10, 238-10).
·
Ensure that people enrolled through Open Learning Australia can access FEE-HELP (Clause 1, Schedule 1, definitions of Student and Overseas Student).

The Bill will amend the Higher Education Support (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 2003 to clarify references to relevant Guidelines (Paragraph 2 of Schedule 1).

The Bill will also amend the Taxation Administration Act 1953 to allow students to declare on the Tax File Number or Withholding Declaration that they have an accumulated HELP debt under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (ss15-25 and 15-50 of Schedule 1).

Financial impact

Nil.


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