Low completion rate and government funding

The Australian Government has introduced new eligibility rules for student funding in higher education, effective from 2022, as part of the Job-ready Graduates legislation. 

If you're starting a new program at RMIT in 2022 and are enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) or have a HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP loan, these changes affect you. The new eligibility requirements mean that you must achieve a reasonable completion rate to keep your program funding. If you have a low completion rate at any time in your program, your funding may be removed and you may be discontinued from your program.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

A low completion rate is a fail rate of more than 50 per cent of the courses you have attempted, after you have attempted eight or more courses in a bachelor level or higher program, or four or more courses in an Associate Degree program. 

 

Examples of students with a low completion rate 

Bachelor level or higher program
Course 1 Pass
Course 2 Pass
Course 3 Pass
Course 4 Fail
Course 5 Fail
Course 6 Fail
Course 7 Fail
Course 8 Fail
Associate Degree programs
Course 1 Pass
Course 2 Fail
Course 3 Fail
Course 4 Fail

If you have a low completion rate in 2022, or at any time during your program, you will no longer be able to receive Commonwealth funding for your program as per the current Australian Government’s Job-ready Graduates legislation. This means that the government will stop funding your Commonwealth supported place and/or HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP loan for that program. 

If you are identified as having a low completion rate at the official results release, RMIT will let you know by email 30 days before you are discontinued from your program. This gives you the opportunity to consider the options listed in the below FAQ: What are my options if I have a low completion rate?

If you’ve enrolled in classes in the next teaching period where the census date has not yet passed, these classes will automatically be dropped for you. If you’ve applied for a Leave of Absence in the next teaching period, this will be cancelled. 

For the following 30 days you will be unable to add any course enrolment/s for your program or apply for a Leave of Absence. 

If your results have not changed from Fail results to Pass results in 30 days and you still have a low completion rate, the Australian Government will no longer fund your Commonwealth supported place or HELP loan and you will be discontinued from your program. 

Result Result code Included in low completion rate calculation
Fail (0-49) NN Yes
Failed mandatory hurdle requirement NH Yes
External Fail grade EFG Yes
Courses dropped via Enrolment Online after the census date WDR Yes

The following are not included in the low completion rate calculation:

  • Courses not yet completed.
  • Courses granted late course withdrawal without academic penalty (via special consideration) or HESA remission of debt in special circumstances. 

 

If at any time during your program you feel that you may not be able to successfully complete a course, please contact your college or school as soon as possible for advice. 

It isn’t always easy to focus on your studies, and there are many circumstances that can affect your results.  You can access the following study and personal support services at any time during your RMIT program.

If you are a person with a disability, mental health and/or medical condition, you may want to contact  the Equitable Learning and Accessibility (ELA) team or the Equitable Learning Services (ELS) Careers Advisor for specific advice and support. For more information, see the Equitable learning and disability webpage.

To book an ELS Careers Consultation, go to the RMIT CareerHub page and select Disability & ELS Career Consultation. Alternatively you can email els.careers@rmit.edu.au with your availability.

See all support and services.

Act before census date 

If you want to change your enrolment, for example drop a course, do this before your census date to avoid paying for courses you're no longer studying.

If you need to drop any courses or apply for a leave of absence after census date, you might want to consider applying for late course withdrawal via special consideration or removal of your HELP debt (known officially as HESA remission of debt) to ensure that your completion rate isn’t impacted. 

If you drop a course after census date, resulting in a WDR (withdrawn) grade, this will be included in the low completion rate calculation. Read more about census dates.

If you are impacted after census date, there's help available. Please refer to the following services for support and advice:

See all support and services.

If you are advised that you have a low completion rate, you may be eligible to do one of the following:

For options 1-3, you must act immediately to meet the 30-day requirement. If you do not apply until the end of the 30-day period, you may be discontinued before these processes are completed. 

If you want to continue in your program in a full-fee place, you may need to wait until the following teaching period due to the time it takes to re-apply and for the Program Assessment Board to make its decision.

Apply for special consideration (Late Course Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty)

If unexpected circumstances outside your control have affected your ability to successfully complete a course, you may be eligible to apply for special consideration (Late Course Withdrawal Without Academic Penalty).

Eligible circumstances include (but are not limited to): 

  • an unexpected short-term physical or mental health condition 
  • difficult personal circumstances or significant emotional disturbance 
  • unexpected carer responsibility for an immediate family member 
  • bereavement of an immediate family member or someone else close to you 
  • having been the victim of a serious crime
  • severe disruption of living arrangements
  • other unexpected circumstances outside your control.

Apply for the removal of your HELP debt via HESA Remission of Debt in Special Circumstances

You may be eligible to apply for the removal (remission) of your HELP debt if:

  • circumstances beyond your control prevented you from passing the course, and 
  • the circumstances arose or did not make their full impact on you until on or after the course census date, and 
  • the circumstances made it impracticable for you to complete the requirements of the course (and you hadn’t already clearly failed the course at the time the circumstances arose). 

Request a review of your results

You may request a review of your final result for a course where you can provide evidence that at least one of the following occurred: 

  • there’s been an error in the calculation of the result, or 
  • the assessment(s) didn’t comply with the description of the assessment, or the assessment criteria published in the course guide, or 
  • the assessment(s) or the assessment criteria published in the course guide aren’t consistent with the requirements of the relevant training package or accredited course, or 
  • the assessment didn’t comply with the assessment policy or processes or another relevant rule or University policy (that is, there’s been an error in process), and this had a significant impact on the result. 

To request a review of your final result:

Contact your course coordinator or program manager immediately to request a review of your grade against one or more of the grounds stated in Assessment Processes 7.3

Apply to continue in your program in a full-fee place

If you want to continue in your program as soon as possible, you must submit a Show cause submission to the Program Assessment Board (PAB). In your Show cause, you must confirm to the PAB that you wish to continue in a full-fee place which means you will need to pay the full cost of the tuition (course fee) upfront with no option to access any government loans or support. A full-fee place is a place at university that receives no financial contribution from the government. Fees cover the full cost of tuition, and you must pay them in full by the due date. To continue in a full-fee place, you must provide a written ‘show cause’ submission to your Program Assessment Board (PAB) detailing why you should be allowed to continue in your program.

If the Board decides that you are academically suited to continue, the board will request that you are offered a full-fee paying upfront place. You will be required to accept this offer to access this new funding arrangement. You will be discontinued from your current place. Please note that you may need to wait until the following teaching period to continue in your program. 

If you increase your completion rate to 50 per cent or higher while continuing in a full fee paying place, you may be eligible for Commonwealth assistance for your program. You may also be able to apply for credit for any courses you have successfully completed. Please note, credit and RPL (Recognition of prior learning) do not count towards your low completion rate calculation. 

If the Board decides that you are not academically suited for the program, you will need to wait 12 months before you can re-apply for a full-fee place in the program.

If you don’t want to continue in your program straight away, you can wait 12 months after being discontinued and then apply for a full-fee place via the standard application process.

Apply for different program

If you apply and receive an offer for a different program, your earlier completion rate will not carry over and you will be able to access Commonwealth assistance, in line with standard eligibility requirements.

As soon as you have been discontinued, we will let you know by email to your personal email account. You will immediately lose access to RMIT systems, including Canvas and your RMIT student email account. 

You will be given the following options: 

  • apply for a full-fee place in the same program in 12 months. If you want to continue in the same program, you need to wait 12 months and then apply in a full-fee place. Your application will be assessed to decide whether you are academically suited for the program. 
  • apply for a different program. If you apply and receive an offer for a different program, your earlier completion rate will not carry over and you will be able to access Commonwealth assistance for your new program, in line with standard eligibility requirements. You may be able to apply for credit for any courses you have successfully completed if applicable to your new program. 

If your results change, for example a Fail grade is changed to a Pass grade, and you are no longer failing more than 50% of your program, you may continue in your current RMIT program. If eligible, you’ll also be able to access a HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP loan. 

To continue in your program, you will need to enrol in the next teaching period by the last day to add classes. This is listed in your important dates.  

If the last day to add classes has passed, you will need to apply for a leave of absence and enrol in the following teaching period.

If you have a result change and no longer have a low completion rate after being discontinued, you will need to re-apply for your program. If you no longer have a low completion rate you may be eligible for Commonwealth assistance.

Yes. You can apply for late course withdrawal up to one year after you withdraw from a course (or after the course end-date if you didn't withdraw). 

You can apply for the removal (remission) of your HELP debt up to 12 months after: 

  • the date you withdrew from the course (if you withdrew from it), or 
  • the end date of the course (if you didn’t withdraw), or 
  • the last date you were due to submit/complete an assessment in the course, if you were permitted to do this after the course end date. 

If you are granted late course withdrawal via special consideration or HESA removal (remission) of debt that results in you no longer having a low completion rate after being discontinued, you will need to re-apply for your program. If you no longer have a low completion rate you may be eligible for Commonwealth assistance. 

If you submit a written 'show cause' to the Program Assessment Board (PAB) once you've been identified as having a low completion rate, and the PAB decides that you may continue in your program in a full-fee place, the board will request that you are offered a full-fee paying upfront place. You will be required to accept this offer to access this new funding arrangement. You will be discontinued from your current place.

You will be encouraged to meet with an Academic Advisor in your school to 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 pay upfront and increase your completion rate to 50 per cent or higher, you will again be eligible for Commonwealth assistance for your program.  

No. If you receive advice that you have a low completion rate and will be discontinued in 30 days, you won't be able to take a Leave of Absence. If you’ve applied for a Leave of Absence in the next teaching period, this will be cancelled for you. 

Yes. If you apply for and are accepted in a different program, you will be able to defer or take a Leave of Absence.

No. The new rules about low completion rates and government funding only apply to students enrolling for the first time in their program from 2022 onwards.

Yes, if you're enrolling in classes for your program for the first time in, or after, 2022.

Yes. You will need to maintain a completion rate of at least 50% of your courses across your entire program. Please note that you may still be identified as first or final stage at risk in your program as part of RMIT's academic progress process.

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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.