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Distance education enrolment and fees procedure

Version number 7.0 | Version effective 09 November 2022
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Distance education enrolment and fees procedure

Audience

All state and non-state schools

Purpose

This procedure outlines the protocols school of distance education (SDE) staff will follow when enrolling prospective students, including fees that are payable and the criteria for fee exemptions, waivers and refunds. It should be read in conjunction with the responsibilities and processes set out in the Enrolment in state primary, secondary and special schools procedure.

Overview

SDEs are state schools providing a program of distance education under the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld) (the EGPA).

While SDEs follow enrolment processes outlined in the Enrolment in state primary, secondary and special schools procedure, section 52 of the EGPA requires that a fee is payable for the provision of distance education for:

  • a student whose educational program is delivered in-full by an SDE – referred to in this procedure as ‘home-based students’
  • a non-state school student enrolled in a component of a program of distance education as part of a flexible arrangement.

A fee is not payable for a state school student who enrols in a component of a program of distance education under a flexible arrangement.

Section 70 and Schedule 2 of the Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017 (Qld) (the EGPR) prescribes the fee units for distance education. Fees increase each year in line with the Government Indexation Policy and are published in the Schedule of fees for the provision of distance education in Queensland.

Certain students who enrol in a program of distance education may be eligible for an exemption from paying a fee for distance education, as outlined in section 53 of the EGPA. The SDE principal may also waive fees, either entirely or partly, if satisfied of particular circumstances as outlined in section 54 of the EGPA.

Fee-paying students are able to request to negotiate a payment plan.

Fees for distance education are payable annually. If granted, exemptions and waivers remain current for the school year in which they are applied for. Subsequent exemptions and waivers may be applied for and granted.

An application for a fee refund may be made to the SDE principal where a fee-paying student is no longer enrolled in a program (or component) of distance education. The refund application must be made before the end of Semester 1 of the school year to which the fee relates.

Fees paid to SDEs for the provision of a program (or component) of distance education will be recouped annually by Central Office.

If a prospective student has a residential address outside Queensland, this should not affect their entitlement to enrol, however a fee may be payable.

An SDE may only end a student's enrolment if certain circumstances are met.

Responsibilities

Applicant for enrolment (applicant)

  • provide all required enrolment information to SDE
  • pay distance education fees, where applicable
  • submit applications and supporting documentation for an exemption, waiver, payment plan or refund in relation to distance education fees, where applicable
  • provide a suitable learning environment, resources and support including access to necessary course materials and appropriate technology
  • ensure there is active onsite support and supervision, including monitoring regular return of work, exam supervision (where relevant) and appropriate contact with SDE teachers

 Where the applicant is a base school principal

  • complete the Application for student enrolment form (school-based students) and submit to the SDE principal
  • provide notices from the SDE principal to the student’s parent/carer in relation to enrolment decisions (where applicable), and retain associated documentation
  • where the base school is a state school:
  • where the base school is a NSS:
    • submit applications for waivers, payment plans and refunds to the SDE principal on behalf of the student and person liable to pay the fee for distance education
    • pay distance education fees, where applicable
    • provide notices from the SDE principal to the student’s parent/carer, advising of the outcomes of a fee waiver or refund application (where applicable), and retain associated documentation.

SDE principal

  • oversee the enrolment process, make enrolment decisions, and determine whether fees are payable
  • where relevant, provide information to applicants about fees that are payable for distance education and eligibility for exemptions, waivers, payment plans and refunds
  • ensure applicants are made aware that failure to pay the fee (where applicable) may result in the student's enrolment being cancelled
  • consider flexible arrangements if proposed
  • decide whether to fully or partially waive distance education fees
  • decide applications for a fee refund and provide notice of reasons if decision is to not grant a refund
  • manage invoicing (DoE employees only), payment and payment plans (DoE employees only); and administer debt management processes for fees that are owed and overdue
  • decide whether to cancel, where appropriate, the enrolment of a student for whom the prescribed distance education fee has not been paid
  • ensure natural justice in decision-making processes
  • provide an accurate count of student enrolments for school staffing and resource allocation purposes
  • report annual fees requiring recoupment by Central Office in Term 4 of the school year
  • refer home-based students of compulsory school age who have withdrawn or had their enrolment cancelled to the relevant Regional Director, in accordance with the Managing student absences and enforcing enrolment and attendance at state schools procedure.

Regional Director

Central Office

  • recoup fees collected by SDEs.

Process

Image 1 – Flowchart for distance education enrolment and fees

Before the SDE receives an application for enrolment

Once the SDE receives the application for enrolment

NOTE: Before a decision is made relating to enrolment and/or fee applications, the decision maker must consider human rights. It is good practice to keep a record of such considerations. To assist with record keeping, a Human rights impact assessment exemplar is available.

For state school-based students

The enrolment decision process is summarised in the Flowchart: Process for state school-based students.

Enrolment decision

  • The SDE principal determines whether the prospective student is entitled to be enrolled and notifies the base school principal of the enrolment decision (refer to the Enrolment in state primary, secondary and special schools procedure).
  • Where prospective student is entitled to enrol, the SDE principal enrols the prospective student and ensures delivery of service (e.g. provision of learning materials/lessons) commences as soon as practicable (e.g. from their intended start date).
  • The SDE enters the prospective student’s enrolment information in OneSchool (DoE employees only) and ensures enrolment details (including SDE enrolment reason) are recorded in OneSchool (DoE employees only).

For home-based students

The enrolment decision and application of fee processes are summarised in the Flowchart: Process for home-based students.

Enrolment decision

  • The SDE principal determines whether the prospective student is entitled to be enrolled and notifies the applicant of the decision (refer to the Enrolment in state primary, secondary and special schools procedure).
  • Where the prospective student is entitled to enrol, the SDE principal:
    • enrols the prospective student and ensures delivery of service (e.g. provision of learning materials/lessons) commences as soon as practicable (e.g. from their intended start date).
    • discusses with the parent/carer and student the Enrolment agreement and seeks signature from the parent/carer and the student (if appropriate as determined by the principal) as acknowledgement of expectations of enrolment agreement, including the Student Code of Conduct and other school policies, programs and services. If not signed, the principal makes a notation on the Enrolment agreement that information has been provided and discussed.
  • The school enters the prospective student’s enrolment information in OneSchool (DoE employees only) and ensures enrolment details (including SDE enrolment reason) and fee history are recorded in OneSchool (DoE employees only).
  • The school consults with a student with disability (considering their age and individual circumstances) and their parents/carers to make appropriate reasonable adjustments that address the individual needs of the student and align with the unique mode of instruction.

Determining the distance education fee payable

Decision to grant fee exemption

Decision to not grant fee exemption

Decision to grant a fee waiver (including partial waiver)

  • The SDE principal decides to grant the fee waiver in full or in part, and notifies the applicant using the Decision notice – distance education fee waiver granted.
  • Where partial fee is payable, the SDE invoices applicant for applicable fee following steps outlined in 'Invoicing and debt management'.

Decision to not grant a fee waiver

Negotiating a payment plan

  • If the SDE principal considers the applicant's circumstances make them eligible for a payment plan (DoE employees only) they negotiate, document and sign a proposal/offer to the applicant.
  • The applicant considers, signs, returns the agreement, and pays the amounts in the time instalments agreed to.

Invoicing and debt management

  • The school invoices the applicant for applicable distance education fee.
  • The applicant pays the invoiced distance education fee by the due date or follows the agreed payment plan.
  • The school refers to the Debt management procedure where payment of fees is outstanding.

Cancellation of enrolment due to non-payment of fee

Ending an enrolment and applying for a fee refund

The refund process is summarised in the Flowchart: Process for distance education fee refunds.

Decision to grant a refund

Decision to not grant a refund

  • The SDE principal considers the application and makes a preliminary view to not grant a part refund.
  • The SDE principal informs the applicant using the Preliminary view notice – refund of distance education fee not granted.
  • The applicant has 10 school days to either submit further information or request the principal reconsiders the preliminary view.
  • The SDE principal considers any submission(s) received in response to the preliminary view and decides either to:
  • The applicant, if unsatisfied with the decision to not grant a refund may, within 14 calendar days after the notice is given, may apply to the Regional Director for a reconsideration of the decision.
  • The Regional Director, on receipt of an application to reconsider a principal's decision to not grant a refund of distance education fee, reviews the decision made and notifies the applicant of the decision.

For non-state school-based students

The enrolment decision and application of fee processes are summarised in the Flowchart: Process for non-state school-based students.

Enrolment decision

  • The SDE principal determines whether the prospective student is entitled to be enrolled and then notifies the NSS principal of the decision.
  • Where prospective student is entitled to enrol, the SDE principal enrols the prospective student and ensures delivery of service (e.g. provision of learning materials/lessons) commences as soon as practicable (e.g. from their intended start date).
  • The school enters the prospective student’s enrolment information in OneSchool (DoE employees only) and ensures enrolment details (including enrolment reason) and fee history are recorded in OneSchool (DoE employees only).

Determining the distance education fee payable

  • Where no application for fee waiver is received, the school invoices NSS for applicable fee (outlined in 'Invoicing and debt management' in the 'For home-based students' section of this procedure).
  • Where NSS principal submits an Application for fee waiver for distance education (non-state school-based students):
    • the SDE principal determines whether student is eligible for fee waiver and notifies applicant (NSS principal) of decision in writing, retaining associated documentation
    • where relevant, NSS principal provides written decisions from the SDE principal to the student’s parent/carer, advising of the outcomes of a fee waiver application, and retains associated documentation
    • where a fee is payable, the SDE invoices the NSS for applicable fees and follows the debt management processes (outlined in 'Invoicing and debt management' in the 'For home-based students' section of this procedure), noting that, where relevant, notices must be sent to the parent/carer by the NSS
    • where fees are unpaid, the SDE follows processes for cancellation of enrolment (outlined in 'Cancellation of enrolment due to non-payment of fee' in the 'For home-based students' section of this procedure), noting that, where relevant, notices are to be sent to the parent/carer by the NSS.
  • The NSS principal submits a completed Application for refund - distance education fee if relevant, before the end of Semester 1 stating the reasons for the application and the date enrolment ceased.
  • The SDE principal, on receipt of the application, follows process for deciding on a refund (outlined in 'Ending an enrolment and applying for a fee refund' in the 'For home-based students' section of this procedure), and notifies the NSS principal.
  • Where relevant, the NSS principal provides written decisions from the SDE principal to the student’s parent/carer, advising of the outcome of a refund application, and retains associated documentation.

Corporate data reporting and fee recoupment

Enrolment data collection

Fee recoupment

  • Central Office sets annual recoupment process and communicates this to SDEs.
  • Schools follow recoupment process and provide accurate enrolment information to Central Office.
  • In Term 4 of each school year, Central Office recoups the relevant fees that have been paid to SDEs.

Definitions

Term

Definition

Applicant for enrolment (applicant)

  • A parent/carer of a prospective student who is under 18 years of age
  • A child, in their own right, where the school principal believes it is in the child’s best interests to make the application
  • A prospective student if they are mature age or recognised as independent
  • Where the prospective student is school-based, the base school principal is the applicant

Base school

The school where the student is enrolled while seeking to enrol in a component of distance education.

Component of distance education

A component would be a subject (or several subjects) offered by a school of distance education. A component would not be the student's complete educational program.

Compulsory school age

A child is of compulsory school age if the child is at least 6 years and 6 months, and less than 16 years. However, a child is no longer of compulsory school age if the child has completed year 10. Refer to the EGPA section 9.

Distance education

Education provided where students and teachers are not regularly in the presence of each other but communicate with each other in writing, by print or electronic means. Refer to the EGPA Schedule 4.

Distance education fee

Fees are able to be charged for the provision of distance education to certain students. In certain circumstances, the fee is able to be waived or refunded upon application. Refer to the EGPA section 52.

The fee is set by legislation and increases each year in line with the Government Indexation Policy. Refer to the EGPR section 70 and Schedule 2.

Eligible for distance education fee exemption

A fee will not be payable if the student is eligible for exemption by meeting any of the following circumstances:

  • The student lives in a remote area as defined by section 49 of the EGPA
  • The student cannot attend a state school, other than a school of distance education, for more than 80 consecutive school days due to their state of health (A medical certificate must be provided)
  • The student has an itinerant lifestyle due to the student’s or parent’s occupation, as defined by section 53(2) of the EGPA
  • The student is suspended from a state school on a charge-related ground under section 281 of the EGPA
  • The student is excluded from a state school under section 291 of the Act, or from certain state schools under section 298 of the EGPA, and would be considered to live in a remote area (as per section 49 of the EGPA) if the school/s from which the student is excluded were taken not to be the nearest applicable school for the definition remote area
  • The student is excluded from all state schools under section 298 of the EGPA
  • The student has parenting responsibilities which preclude regular attendance at a state school
  • The student has carer responsibilities which preclude regular attendance at a state school (A medical certificate confirming carer responsibilities must be provided)
  • The student has been refused enrolment as a mature age student at a mature age state school or the student's principal place of residence is more than 16 kilometres from the nearest mature age state school
  • The student is in custody at a corrective services facility

Refer to the EGPA section 53.

Home-based student

Student whose entire education program is delivered by an SDE. Home-based students include students with a limited choice of schooling options (e.g. due to geographical isolation, medical condition/s, parenting or carer responsibilities) and students undertaking distance education by choice.

Parent/carer

Refer to the EGPA section 10 .

Person liable to pay fees

The person who is liable to pay the applicable fees for distance education. For students enrolled at a non-state school, this is the non-state school principal

Prospective student

A prospective student is a person who has applied to enrol at an SDE but who has not yet been accepted for enrolment

Regional Director

A Regional Director is a delegate of the Director-General to reconsider a decision by a principal to not grant a refund of part fee of distance education.

Refer to the Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017 Director-General delegations section 72(3).

School-based student

State or non-state school student who enrols in a component of distance education (i.e. individual subject which is not available at their school).

School of distance education (SDE)

A state school providing distance education. Refer to the EGPA Schedule 4.

SDE principal

A principal of a school of distance education is a delegate of the Director-General for the following decisions:

  • cancellation of a student's enrolment if fee for distance education is not paid
  • waive, entirely or partly, payment of the distance education fee
  • refund of part of fee paid for distance education.

Refer to Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 Director-General delegations and Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2017 Director-General delegations.

Legislation

Delegations/Authorisations

Other resources

Superseded versions

Previous seven years shown. Minor version updates not included.

5.0 Distance Education Enrolment Fees

6.0 Distance education enrolment fees

Review date

08 November 2026
Attribution CC BY
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