Student Review Procedure

Student Review Procedures for re-crediting a FEE-HELP balance

TrainSmart Australia will conduct this procedure in compliance with Schedule 1A of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 and the VET Guidelines 2015.

TrainSmart Australia will:

  • Set a census date for each VET unit of study that is no earlier than 20% of the way through the VET unit of study
  • Ensure that all students are informed of the census date for each VET unit of study in the manner and by the date prescribed in the VET Guidelines 2015
  • Ensure that all students are informed of the review procedures for the re-crediting of a FEE-HELP balance

Policy Coverage

This procedure applies to all students enrolled at TrainSmart Australia who access VET FEE-HELP for payment of their tuition fees.

Incurring a VET FEE-HELP Debt

A student who is, or would be, eligible for VET FEE-HELP and has requested VET FEE-HELP assistance, who withdraws from a unit on or before the census date will not incur a VET FEE-HELP debt for the tuition fees for that unit.

Students who have requested VET FEE-HELP assistance who remain enrolled after the published census date will incur a VET FEE-HELP debt. A student who withdraws from a unit after the published census date for that unit will incur a VET FEE-HELP debt for that unit.

Re-crediting a FEE-HELP Balance

Students who withdraw from a Unit after the published census date, or fail to complete a Unit, may apply to have their FEE-HELP balance re-credited with respect to the Unit if they believe special circumstances apply in accordance with the following procedures.

Special Circumstances

If a student withdraws from a Unit after the published census date for that Unit, or has been unable to successfully complete a Unit and believes this was due to special circumstances, the student may apply to have their FEE-HELP balance re-credited for the affected unit/s.

Should a student withdraw from a unit of study after the census date, his/her VET FEE-HELP debt may only be removed for that unit of study due to special circumstances that:

  • Were beyond his/her control and
  • Did not make their full impact until on, or after, the census date and
  • Made it impracticable for the student to complete the requirements of the unit/s of study.

For circumstances to be beyond a student’s control, the situation should be that which a reasonable person would consider is not due to the student’s action or in action, either direct or indirect, and for which the student is not responsible. The situation must be unusual, uncommon or abnormal to be considered special circumstances.

Special circumstances do not include:

  • Lack of knowledge or understanding of requirements for VET FEE-HELP assistance; or
  • A student’s incapacity to repay a VET FEE-HELP debt (repayments are income contingent and the student can apply to the Australian Taxation Office for a deferral of a compulsory repayment in certain circumstances).

If the FEE-HELP balance for a unit of study is re-credited, any VET FEE-HELP incurred for that unit will also be removed. If the student has successfully completed a unit of study, he/she is not eligible, in any circumstances, to have the FEE-HELP balance re-credited, or the debt removed for that unit of study.


Each application for re-credit of a student’s FEE-HELP balance will be considered on its merits together with all supporting documentation substantiating the special circumstances claim.

Stage One: Application

The application for re-crediting of a FEE-HELP balance must be submitted in writing to the National RTO Manager within twelve months of the withdrawal date, or if the student has not withdrawn, within 12 months of the specified completion date of the unit. Trainsmart Australia has the discretion to waive this requirement if it is satisfied that it would not be, or was not, possible for the application to be made within the 12 month period. Relevant supporting documentation will be required to substantiate the claim.

The application for re-crediting of a FEE-HELP balance must include details of the:

  • Unit(s) for which the student is seeking to have a FEE-HELP balance re-credited
  • Special circumstances as referred to above, including supporting documentation

The application will be considered within 28 working days of receipt. Applicants will be notified in writing of the decision within 45 working days

Stage Two: Review

If a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of their application, the student may apply, within 28 days of the receipt of the original decision, for a review of the decision.
The application for review should be made in writing to the Managing Director (MD)who is senior to the original decision maker and was not involved prior. The application must:

  • Be made within 28 days of receipt of the original decision
  • Include the date of the original decision
  • State fully the reasons for applying for the review
  • Include any additional relevant evidence

The MD will acknowledge receipt of the application for review, in writing, within 10 working days, review all original information and assess any new evidence
The MD is taken to have confirmed the decision if he/she does not give notice of a decision to the student within 45 days after receiving the students request.
The notice will inform the student of their right to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal if they are not satisfied with the outcome of the decision.

Stage Three: External Review

The student will be notified of their review rights and responsibilities at each stage. The relevant officer will inform a student in writing of their right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) if they are not satisfied with the outcome.

  • Contact details of the closest AAT office and the approximate costs of lodging an appeal will be provided.
  • The Application must be lodged at the AAT within 28 days of receiving written notice of the Review Decision. This time limitation can be extended in limited circumstances by order of the AAT
  • An application fee may have to be paid, in the amount of $816 (2011-2012) and is subject to change. Applications cannot proceed until the fee has been paid or waived. Applications for fee waiver must be made to the AAT.
  • Full details of the application process and fees payable are available on the AAT Registry’s

The Secretary of the department representing the Commonwealth of Australia which has the responsibility for administering the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (the Department) or the Secretary’s delegate will be the respondent for cases that are brought before the AAT. Upon the Department’s receipt of notification from the AAT, the Department will notify SMR Learning Services Pty Ltd that an appeal has been lodged. Upon receipt of this notification from the Department, the Review Officer will provide the Department with copies of all the documents they hold that are relevant to the appeal within five (5) business days.

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