Academic progress and low completion rates

Academic progress is the formal way RMIT supports students who are not making satisfactory progress in their program, including having a low completion rate.

Definition of unsatisfactory academic progress

To be officially identified as making unsatisfactory academic progress, a student needs to meet the criteria in the following document. If this happens, you'll be advised by email that you are at risk of not meeting the academic requirements of your program.

It’s important to remember that, throughout this process, there are many support services available to get you back on track, and people who can help you succeed.

Definition of a low completion rate

Low completion rate is an Australian Government term that applies to students commencing a program in or after 2022 in a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) or with a HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP loan. If a student has a low completion rate, the Government will remove its funding. Find out more about low completion rates and government funding.

The steps of unsatisfactory academic progress

First stage at risk

The first time you meet one or more of the unsatisfactory academic progress criteria, you’re officially considered to be first stage 'at risk' of not meeting the academic requirements of your program.
 

What happens then?

  1. You'll get an email after results are released (or after a change to a grade) notifying you that you've been identified as first stage 'at risk'.
  2. In the email, you will be invited to talk to an Academic Advisor to discuss study support and develop a tailored Academic Performance Improvement Plan (APIP). This plan sets out the requirements you need to meet in the next teaching period to continue in your program.

If you make unsatisfactory academic progress again in the same program, you may be identified as final stage 'at risk' of not meeting the academic requirements of your program (see the next section). 

Final stage at risk

If, after being identified as first stage 'at risk', you again make unsatisfactory academic progress in the same program, you may be identified as final stage 'at risk' of not meeting the academic requirements of your program. 
 

What happens then?

  1. You'll get an email after results are released (or after a change to a grade) notifying you that you've been identified as final stage 'at risk'.
  2. In the email, you will be invited to provide a written submission, called a show cause, to the Program Assessment Board.

The show cause submission is a way for you to explain your situation to the Board. Based on the information in your submission, the Board will decide if you can continue in your program. This decision will be based on whether you have a reasonable likelihood of future success in the program.

Preparing a show cause submission

Before preparing your submission, you may want to consider if your current program is the right one for you, or if a break from the program would be beneficial.

If you decide to make a show cause submission, you need to include the following information:

Explain why your academic progress has been unsatisfactory

For the teaching periods in which you’ve been identified as 'at risk', especially the most recent teaching period, you need to explain:

  • what went wrong and why (including both academic and personal circumstances that have impaired your performance)
  • how much time each week you’ve spent in class and studying, and how much time you’ve spent on other commitments such as employment
  • what you’ve done to resolve these issues, including any help you’ve sought
  • what you’ve done to carry out your Academic Performance Improvement Plan.

Explain how you intend to improve your academic performance

You need to explain:

  • if the issues that impaired your academic performance are still present, or if your situation has improved
  • if the issues are still present, how you’ll minimise their impact on your performance in the next teaching period
  • your short-term and long-term plans to improve your study skills and academic performance.

Supporting documents

The Program Assessment Board will expect independent supporting documentation of any circumstances outside your control that have impaired your academic performance. 

Typical supporting documents include:

  • a letter or report from a health practitioner or counsellor
  • a death certificate or funeral notice for a close relative
  • a police report of a crime against you
  • evidence of your use of support services recommended in your Academic Performance Improvement Plan.

Outcomes

After the Program Assessment Board has considered your submission, it may decide to allow you to continue in your program, or exclude you from your program for 12 months, after which you may apply for re-admission.
 

If the Board allows you to continue in your program

  1. You’ll receive a 'withdrawal of exclusion' email.
  2. You’ll continue to be officially 'at risk' of not meeting the academic requirements of your program.
  3. You’ll again be given the opportunity to talk to an Academic Advisor and develop an Academic Performance Improvement Plan (APIP). You’ll need to continue to meet the requirements in your APIP. If you meet one of the unsatisfactory academic progress criteria in any subsequent semesters in the same program, you may need to provide another submission to the Program Assessment Board.

If the Board recommends exclusion from your program

  1. You will be notified of the Board's recommendation by email.
  2. The Academic Registrar will be asked to exclude you from your program.
  3. The Academic Registrar will notify you of the exclusion decision by email. This will take about 10 working days.
     

Appeals

You may appeal the decision to exclude you from your program. The email from the Academic Registrar will include information about how to submit an appeal. You will need to wait to receive the email before you can proceed.
 

Re-admission to your program

You’re eligible to apply for re-admission to the program 12 months after exclusion. You won’t automatically be re-admitted to the program from which you’ve been excluded at the end of the exclusion period. You must apply to be re-admitted through the normal application process. If you cancel your enrolment, you’ll still need to wait 12 months before applying for re-admission.
 

If you want to cancel your program

You must formally cancel your enrolment before the census date or relevant withdrawal date to avoid financial or academic penalties. Cancelling your enrolment will not stop the exclusion process.
 

International student visas

If you’re studying an RMIT program on a student visa, your visa may be cancelled if you’re excluded from your program for continued unsatisfactory academic performance. 

RMIT is required by law to notify the Department of Home Affairs of any excluded students. This is in accordance with Section 19 of the Educational Services for Overseas Students Act.

If you’re being excluded and you cancel your enrolment, transfer to another RMIT program, or transfer to a program at another provider, RMIT is still obligated to notify the Department of Home Affairs. 

If you appeal the decision, we won’t notify the Department of Home Affairs until the appeal process has been completed (and then only if your appeal is unsuccessful).

For more information about your visa requirements, email the RMIT International Compliance team at esos@rmit.edu.au.

Contacts and support

If you’re worried about your results and academic progress, we recommend first talking to staff in your School or College. The following support services are also available.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.