3.8.3.70 PES & Impact of Previous Study

Summary

This topic discusses the following issues relating to PES and the impact of previous tertiary study:

  • allowable time for previous study, part-time study, concessional study, combined courses, and Honours and Masters qualifying study,
  • determining whether a student was previously a 25% concessional study-load student, and
  • exceptions to the allowable time rules.

Allowable time - previous study

Previous tertiary study undertaken at the SAME level is taken into account in measuring allowable time. All study at the particular level is taken into account unless an exception applies. Exception rules are discussed further on in this topic.

Example: No account is taken of certificate studies when calculating allowable time for a person undertaking an undergraduate degree.

For current full-time students, ONLY the normal minimum duration (1.1.M.140) of a completed course is taken into account, whether or not the person actually studied for longer than that.

Where a student has been given credit for study at a different level, or for another reason (e.g. in recognition of prior learning or experience) and has completed a course in less than the minimum time, only the lesser time will be counted.

Recipients are considered to have completed 100% of the study-load for a semester or year, if they:

  • studied less than the normal full-time study (1.1.F.230) load but at least 75%, OR
  • qualified for a 66% concessional study-load (1.1.C.290).

Allowable time - measuring previous part-time study

Previous part-time tertiary studies (1.1.P.100), at the same level, are taken into account on a pro-rata basis.

Part-time study provisions apply to part-time study by current full-time, 25% and 66% concessional study-load students who were not 25% concessional study-load students at the time.

Rules for determining whether a student may have been a 25% concessional study-load student or a part-time student are explained later in this topic.

Explanation: Part-time study is different to concessional study and different rules apply. See rules for measuring previous concessional study later in this topic.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PI(5) Time spent by person studying part-time

Allowable time - measuring previous concessional study

Previous concessional study is measured differently depending on whether the student:

  • is a tertiary or secondary student (3.8.3.30),
  • is currently a 25% concessional study-load student,
  • is currently a full-time or 66% concessional study-load student,
  • could be considered a 25% concessional student at the time the study was undertaken.

Explanation: Previous concessional study is treated differently depending on whether the person is CURRENTLY a full-time or a 25% concessional study-load student. This is due to the differing allowable time rules for full-time and 25% concessional study-load students.

Current 25% concessional study-load students - measuring previous study

If the previous study was undertaken as:

  • a 25% concessional study-load student, or
  • a full-time student, or
  • a 66% concessional study-load student,

then the previous study is treated the same. It is counted as full years, regardless of whether study was 25% concessional or full-time or whether PES was paid.

Explanation: PES is payable for twice the length of time it would take a full-time student to complete the CURRENT course being studied. So, if the current course is 3 years full-time, then PES is payable for 6 years. Any time previously undertaken at the same level is subtracted from the 6 years. It is not relevant whether the previous study was full-time or 25% concessional or whether PES was paid.

Example: A 25% concessional study-load student beginning a 3-year course had previously undertaken 3 years study at the same level, some as a 25% concessional study-load student, some as a full-time student. PES was paid only for one year. Those 3 past years study are counted as 3 years so the student can be paid PES for a further 3 years if she continues as a 25% concessional study-load student.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PI(4) Allowable study time-25% concessional study-load students

Current full-time students - measuring previous concessional study

If the previous study was undertaken as a 25% concessional study-load student, then the previous study is treated as equal to the minimum amount of time that a full-time student would have taken to complete the previous study.

Example: A student completed 4 years as a 25% concessional study-load student and is now a full-time student. His/her previous study is counted as one year because this is how long a full-time student would have taken to complete the same study.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PI(6) Current full-time students who have previously undertaken courses as concessional study-load students

Determining whether a student was previously a 25% concessional study-load student

When measuring allowable time for previous study, a student is considered to have been a 25% concessional study-load student if they:

  • were approved as a 25% concessional study-load student, OR
  • could have qualified for the allowable time concession for past study.

That is:

  • they must have met all the rules for qualification for 25% concessional study-load students, AND
  • be studying at least 25% but less than 75% of a full-time workload, AND
  • the relevant concession must have been available at the time.

A student is NOT regarded as a 25% concessional study-load student during previous study if, prior to the dates below,

  • the student did not qualify or could not have qualified for the concession at the time because the concession was not then available, OR
  • did not apply to the student's qualifying payment or circumstances at the time.

The 25% study-load and double allowable study time concessions (under the previous Austudy scheme) were introduced as follows:

Description Year
for people with a substantial physical disability 1987
for people with a substantial psychiatric disability 1990
for then sole parent pensioners 1992
for people with a substantial intellectual disability 1993
for disability support pensioners 1993
for widow b pensioner/special beneficiaries sole parent with a dependent child under 16 1993
for then carer pensioners 1994
for DVA invalidity/carer service pensioners or war/defence widow pensioners with a dependent child under 16 1994

Students who had undertaken part-time study (at the same level) prior to the introduction of the relevant concession (above) were not '25% concessional study-load students' at the time. That study should be calculated in accordance with SSAct section 1061PI(5).

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PI(5) Time spent by person studying part-time

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.8.3.40 PES Concessional Study-load Students

Allowable time - combined courses

The time limit for the current tertiary course is calculated on the basis of a COMBINED course if a person:

  • completes a first course and starts a second course, AND
  • the institution at which they are studying offers an approved course combining the 2 courses.

Honours & Masters qualifying study

Enrolment in an Honours course extends the normal minimum duration of a tertiary course by one year, as long as the recipient is actually enrolled in the Honours YEAR. This extension CANNOT be applied to students merely INTENDING to proceed to Honours study.

Assistance for a double Honours course, or to complete a Masters qualifying year after completing an Honours year, is available ONLY if the student has not exceeded the allowable time for the course to Honours level.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.8.3.60 PES & Progress Rules for Tertiary Study

Exceptions - illness or circumstances beyond control

The following periods of study can be disregarded in assessing whether a person has exceeded the allowable time for tertiary study at a particular level:

  • A failed year or part of a year of study, if the failure was because the person was ill or because of other circumstances beyond their control.
  • Time spent studying in a course that has been PERMANENTLY discontinued because of circumstances beyond the person's control.
    • Examples:
    • Illness or traumatic personal circumstances.
    • The institution ceased to offer the course before the student completed their study.
    • The recipient was unable to continue in the course because of course quotas.
  • Time spent studying in a course that has been completed but which, because of illness, the person CANNOT use in any of the trades or professions to which the course is appropriate.
    • Example: A student completes a Bachelor of Nursing and then suffers a back injury which prevents them practising as a nurse.

Exceptions - no approval or qualification for support

The following periods of study can be disregarded in assessing whether a person has exceeded the allowable time for tertiary study at a particular level. Time spent undertaking a course:

  • that was NOT approved for either the Tertiary Education Assistance Scheme (TEAS), Austudy, or YA, or
  • during which the person did NOT qualify for TEAS, Austudy, YA or PES because of the application of the rules of academic progress.

Exceptions - other reasons

The following periods of study can be disregarded in assessing whether a person has exceeded the allowable time for tertiary study at a particular level. Time spent studying in a:

  • course which is a NORMAL prerequisite for the course in which they are enrolled or intend to enrol,
  • VET programs/courses offered by registered training organisations, whether it was completed or not, if the normal length of the course is one year or less,
  • course MORE THAN 10 years ago UNLESS the course has since been completed,
  • course at a foreign institution, or
  • subject from which the student withdrew, if the institution did NOT record the withdrawal from the subject as a failure.

Act reference: SSAct section 1061PI(7) Matters to be disregarded in determining whether someone has exceeded the allowable study time

Last reviewed: 15 August 2016