Staff Tuition Fee Subsidy Initiative - Frequently Asked Questions


Why does the course need to be relevant to my current role and job description?
The course(s) must be relevant to the staff member’s current role and job description due to Fringe Benefit Tax implications.
Provided the course meets the relevant criteria as outlined in Section 2: Eligibility, Terms & Conditions, there is no FBT payable by UNSW or the affiliated organisation and the staff member may be able to claim an income tax deduction for a portion of the remaining tuition fee. Staff should seek their own personal tax advice on claiming an income tax deduction for the remaining tuition fee.

How is the relevance of the course to my professional role determined?
The relevance of the course is determined by the following criteria as per ATO guidelines:
  • The course maintained or improved a skill or specific knowledge required for their then current work activities; or
  • The employee could show that the course was leading to, or was likely to lead to, increased income from their then current work activities, or
  • Other circumstances existed which established a direct connection between the course and their then current work activities.
Course relevance is reviewed and signed off by the staff member’s supervisor or manager.

Am I eligible for the tuition fee subsidy if I am an international staff member employed at UNSW on a non-permanent working visa (e.g. 457 visa)?
Provided the study is allowed under the Visa conditions, and the staff member meets the eligibility criteria, yes, staff are eligible for the tuition fee subsidy.
It is the staff member’s responsibility to ensure they meet all the eligibility criteria, including their eligibility to study whilst working as per their citizenship, residency or visa conditions.
Staff members are recommended to consult with a visa / immigration specialist on the full conditions of their citizenship/residency/visa.

Am I eligible for the tuition fee subsidy if I am employed by an affiliated organisation (e.g. The George Institute)?
Staff members employed by the following affiliated organisations are also eligible to receive the staff tuition fee subsidy:
  • Children’s Cancer Institute;
  • Neuroscience Research Australia;
  • Garvan Institute for Medical Research;
  • Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute;
  • Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research;
  • Black Dog Institute;
  • The George Institute;
  • Brien Holden Vision Institute;
  • Scientia Clinical Research;
  • UNSW Global;
  • UNSW Innovations; and
  • UNSW Press.

Am I eligible for the tuition fee subsidy if I am long term casual staff member?  
Conjoints (e.g. Hospital staff) and long term sessional staff who do significant work for the University may be considered for a tuition fee subsidy by exception. Applications for these staff members will be reviewed by the Vice President, Human Resources and relevant Dean or Divisional Head after submission to HR Help.

What does “active performance improvement plan” mean?
An active performance improvement plan is where a staff member’s supervisor or manager has notified the staff member of concerns with their performance and has initiated a formal performance improvement process to address those concerns.

Am I eligible for the tuition fee subsidy if I am on an active performance improvement plan?
Staff members on an active performance improvement plan are not eligible for the tuition fee subsidy as per the eligibility criteria in the Staff Tuition Fee Subsidy Guidelines, Section 2: Eligibility, Terms & Conditions.

I have received the tuition fee subsidy and I have failed the course or withdrawn with financial penalty. Do I need to pay back the subsidy amount received? Can I apply for another subsidy when I am repeating the course?
Staff members that fail or withdraw from a course with financial penalty (i.e. after the census date) will not be required to pay back the subsidy amount.
Staff members are encouraged to follow the usual special consideration process (student.unsw.edu.au/special-consideration) for circumstances beyond their control that may impact their assessment performance.
Applications for a tuition fee subsidy to repeat a failed course will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the Vice President, Human Resources.

I have resigned from employment at UNSW within the subsidised semester of study. Do I need to pay back the subsidy amount received? What if I resign after the subsidised semester is finished?
Staff members that resign with the last day of their notice period falling within the subsidised semester of study will be required to pay back the full amount of the subsidy received. This will be recoverable as a debt owed to UNSW.
Staff members who resign with the last day of their notice period falling after the end of the subsidised semester of study are not required to pay back the subsidy amount received.
What happens if I don’t pay my tuition fees by the payment due date?
As per the UNSW Fee Policy for Domestic and International Students, non-payment of fees may result in enrolment being cancelled.
If the staff member does not pay their portion of the tuition fees and remains enrolled in the course post the census date, the staff member will be required to pay the full amount of the course fees (i.e. their portion and the portion that would have been paid by UNSW) and will not receive the tuition fee subsidy.
Any outstanding debt for tuition fees will also result in a “Denial of Services” block placed on your student account, which may prevent you from enrolling in subsequent semesters and accessing results, amongst other restrictions.
If fees remain unpaid, this will be treated as a debt owed by the staff member to UNSW. UNSW will take steps to recover debts owed by staff members, including by forwarding the matter to our commercial debt collection agency, as per the usual process.
Please refer to the UNSW Fee Policy for further details (student.unsw.edu.au/fees-policy).

Am I eligible for a payment plan due to financial hardship?
Full fee-paying students (not Commonwealth supported places) may be eligible to pay tuition fees under a payment plan.
Payment plans are:
  • Arranged on a per-semester basis only;
  • Cannot be applied retrospectively; and
  • Are not available to commencing students (first year of study for undergraduates; first semester of study for postgraduates).
Please refer to the UNSW Fee Payment Plan for further details (student.unsw.edu.au/fees-payment-plan) and contact the Student Financials team via Student Central to apply.

Can I pay for the tuition fee by salary packaging?
No, staff members will not be eligible to pay their tuition fees by salary packaging. This is due to the tax implications of making pre-tax deductions from monthly pay and to ensure the subsidy is applied equitably across all eligible staff regardless of whether they salary package or pay upfront.

I am an international student and have differing fees to domestic students. Am I eligible for the tuition fee subsidy?
Yes, provided staff members meet the eligibility criteria, they will receive the staff tuition fee subsidy, regardless of their status as an international fee paying, domestic fee paying or Commonwealth supported place student.

Am I eligible for Commonwealth Assistance (e.g. FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP)?
Domestic students, New Zealand Special Category visa holders, and holders of humanitarian visas who are residing in Australia may be eligible for fee assistance or a loan from the Federal Government. Full details of Government schemes are available at the Government's Study Assist site (studyassist.gov.au/sites/StudyAssist/).

I am already receiving subsidised tuition fees under an existing arrangement. What happens to my current arrangement?
The Staff Tuition Fee Subsidy is the overarching arrangement that covers subsidised UNSW tuition fees for all eligible UNSW staff. As such, staff currently under existing arrangements will be transitioned to the Staff Tuition Fee Subsidy arrangement at the latest applicable semester.
However, if staff members already receive greater benefits under their existing arrangements (e.g. 100% subsidised tuition fees), then there is no obligation to transition to the staff tuition fee subsidy.

I have a question about the application process and the status of my application. Who do I contact?
Prior to your application being approved, you should send an email to tuitionfeesubsidy@unsw.edu.au.

My application has been approved but I have a question relating to my tuition fees payable. Who do I contact?
If your application has been approved, your point of contact is Student Central. You can contact Student Central via email (studentcentral@unsw.edu.au), phone (9385 8500), or in-person at Lower Ground Floor, Chancellery Building.

When do I need to submit the application form and FBT declaration?
For award and non-award courses, application forms and FBT declarations must be signed by your manager and submitted to HR no later than the Thursday before each main session (i.e. U1, T1 and T2) start. For 2018, the application deadlines are as follows:
  • T1: 22nd February 2018
  • T2: 19th July 2018
For short courses, application forms and FBT declarations must be signed by your manager and submitted to HR no later than two weeks before the enrolment deadline. Note that some short courses have limited places and may sell out earlier than this time. Approval of a tuition fee subsidy is not a guarantee for a place in any given course.

Why do I have to submit a new application form every semester/for each short course?
Applications are evaluated every period of study to ensure that a staff member is still eligible for the subsidy, and that each course is relevant to the staff member’s role.

What should I do if I want to contest a rejected application?
If your application has been rejected, you should first discuss the matter with your manager. If a resolution cannot be reached, or if you are dissatisfied with the result of these discussions, you should speak with your local HR Manager or Client Services team.

Does the staff tuition fee subsidy cover the Student Services and Amenities Fee?
No. All staff members receiving the Staff Tuition Fee Subsidy will be required to pay the Student Services & Amenities Fee.

What happens if I do an Internal Temporary Transfer? Do the courses need to be relevant to my previous role or my current, temporary role?
If you complete an ITT, the courses selected for your tuition fee subsidy should be relevant to your previous, permanent role as the ITT is only a temporary transfer (and you will return to your prior role after the ITT finishes).

I am currently deferring my tuition fees / student contribution amount via FEE-HELP / HECS-HELP. What happens when I apply for the tuition fee subsidy?
Under the 40% tuition fee subsidy, the amount deferred via FEE-HELP / HECS-HELP will be 60% of the amount previously deferred without the subsidy.
Students currently deferring payments via FEE-HELP / HECS-HELP are eligible to apply for the tuition fee subsidy provided they meet all other eligibility criteria and conditions.

Are family members of UNSW staff eligible to receive the staff tuition fee subsidy?
No, the fee subsidy is only applicable for eligible UNSW staff members, not their families.

How will the Fee Subsidy be funded?
As this is a pilot program, it will be funded through University Projects during 2018. We will reassess the appropriate funding source once we are able to establish the level of applications/interest from staff.