Changes to the Job Ready Graduates legislation

On 1 January 2024, amendments to the Higher Education Support Act 2003 were enacted. These amendments removed the requirement that students pass 50 per cent of their units to keep their Commonwealth Supported Place (HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP) from the Job Ready Graduates legislation.

What this means for students

If you're undertaking a course that is a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) or using HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP, these changes impact you. This requirement does not apply to fee-paying international students.

For students who started a new course on or after 1 January 2022, the Job Ready Graduates legislation stated the requirement to pass at least 50 per cent of the units attempted in order to keep their Commonwealth Supported Place and access to HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP loans.

Students who lost their Commonwealth Supported Place will have their place reinstated for future unit enrolments with a Census Date after 1 January 2024, providing they meet the current eligibility requirements for a Commonwealth Supported Place.

Support for Students Policy

In addition, Swinburne has introduced its Support for Students Policy to clearly outline the support available to students and assist them in completing their studies.

Read about Swinburne's Support for Student Policy

Below are the Frequently Asked Questions relating to the previous legislation and the legislation change.

Read about the government's Job-ready Graduate legislation

Frequently asked questions

These frequently asked questions relate to amendments enacted on 1 January 2024.

No. The amended legislation means that you no longer need to maintain a pass rate on 50 per cent of your units or higher to keep your place or support.

We still expect our students to maintain their academic standards as set out in the Swinburne Student Charter, and we also provide support for students as outlined in the Support for Students policy.

No. As the amended legislation is now enacted, you no longer need to maintain a pass rate on 50 per cent of your units or higher to keep your place or support. 

If you failed units in Semester 2, 2023, we recommend you make contact with our range of Student Support Services to help you get your studies back on track. 

Yes. Students who lost their Commonwealth Supported Place due to low completion rate are eligible to return to a Commonwealth Supported Place for their future course studies if they still meet the current eligibility requirements for this place.

Unfortunately not. The amended legislation only affects future unit studies with a census date of 1 January 2024 and beyond.

Previous low completion rate rules (prior to 1 January 2024)

The low completion rate measure has been extended to students accessing Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs), HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP from 1 January 2022.

  • It applies to students who enrol in courses from 1 January 2022 (i.e. does not apply to students who enrolled in their course prior to 1 January 2022).
  • The low completion rate applies within a course, meaning that if a student transfers to a new course their pass-rate renews for the new course. Similarly, if a student is enrolled in two courses and has a low completion rate in one of them, their other course is not affected.
  • The low completion rate applies within a course until the student raises their pass-rate in that course to 50 per cent or higher again, at which point they would be eligible for Commonwealth assistance again within that course.

The purpose of this legislation is to prevent students from incurring HELP debts for studies they are unsuited for.

Thus, if a student is enrolled past the census date, then the fee for the unit is incurred and the unit is deemed to be ‘undertaken’. If a student then either withdraws after this census date, with or without an academic penalty or fails the unit, then this will lower the student’s completion rate.

This is being done to ensure that students who are not progressing well and not academically suited in their course are not accruing a large amount of debt that they will need to repay in the future.

A low completion rate is a fail rate of more than 50% of the units of study you have undertaken after you have undertaken eight or more units of study in a bachelor level or higher course.

A low completion for lower courses Associate Degree and lower is a fail rate of more than 50% of the units of study after you have undertaken 4 units.

Students who do not meet the requirements will lose access to all Commonwealth assistance, including FEE-HELP assistance.

Course (lower than bachelor level) Course code begins with
Diploma DP
Associate degree AB
Course (bachelor level or higher) Course code begins with
Bachelor BA
Bachelor (honours) BH
Bachelor (double degree) BB
Graduate certificate GC
Graduate diploma GD
Master MA
Master (double degree) MM

If you have not successfully completed more than 50% of units in your course but have not yet undertaken the minimum number of units required for low completion rate to apply, you will not be considered to have a low completion rate.

Find out more about low completion rate

You may lose your Commonwealth Supported Place, HECS-HELP and/or FEE-HELP.

A completed unit is any pass grade, or any unit transferred from another course, that contributes to your credit points. Units credited from another course will only be considered a completed unit, when calculating your completion rate, if those credited units were from teaching periods that began on or after 1 January 2022.

Any unit with a unit status of fail. For example, units which you have failed (i.e. N, NA, NCOM, SN and WF) or if you have withdrawn from the unit after the census date.

An undertaken unit is any unit you are enrolled in for which you have incurred a fee.

Units not considered to be undertaken are units for which you have not incurred a fee. For example, unit/s you have withdrawn from before the census date.

At the end of each study period, for the units you have enrolled in, after results are published.

You can continue to study in a full fee-paying place in the same course. Alternatively, you can transfer to another course that you are more academically suited to. You may be able to access a Commonwealth Supported Place if you move to another course. 

No. It is a government requirement that the university removes a student’s access to their Commonwealth Supported Place, HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP if their completion rate is below 50%. 


Calculating low completion rate

No, only units that were undertaken with Commonwealth support will count towards your completion rate.

However, your success as a full fee-paying student will impact you if you request to be reinstated in a CSP place. Your academic suitability will be assessed based on the successful completion of units in the full fee-paying place.

A unit, in the context of low competition rate, is any single unit, regardless of the amount of credit points the unit bears.



Yes, if the unit was undertaken after 1 January 2022.

Improving completion rate



No. If you choose to continue as a full fee-paying student, then the fees, upon successfully improving your completion rate, cannot be retrospectively changed to include Commonwealth support (i.e. be subsidised) or be added to your HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP.

You will not have access to Commonwealth Supported Place until you raise your completion rate in that course to 50% or more again. At this point, you may be eligible to apply for Commonwealth assistance again within that same course. Your completion rate is calculated each time results are published.

Course specific

If you are studying and accessing a Commonwealth Supported Place and you commence the course after 1 January 2022, this will apply to you. A double degree is considered to be a single course in its own right.

Yes, if you commenced your course after 1 January 2022.

Yes, if you commenced your course after 1 January 2022.

As your course is below the bachelor level, the 4 unit rule applies. You will be considered as having a low completion rate after having undertaken 4 units and failing more than 50%.

Yes, you can.

No, not yet. You will not lose your Commonwealth Supported Place until you have:

  1. undertaken at least 8 units, and
  2. failed more than 50% of those units.

However, you will be notified of the support available to you, and the things you can do to bring your study back on track.

Changing courses

When you move to another course the course will have a different course code.

You are not considered to have moved to another course of study simply by changing your major, minor or stream as this is done while still being admitted to the same course.

For example, if you transfer from a Bachelor of Business to a Bachelor of Accounting, your completion rate is reset if these are reported as separate courses.

However, this will not be the case if, within a Bachelor of Business course you switch from a major in Business Administration to a major in Accounting – these are simply different majors within the same course.

Your units undertaken as part of your previous course may be credited via a course transfer request.


Special circumstances

Having a low completion rate, or trying to improve one's completion rate, is not grounds for being considered for special circumstances.

Special circumstances impacting your performance in a unit can include:

  • medical reasons
  • family reasons
  • employment-related reasons.

Special circumstances do not include:

  • not knowing unit/course requirements or your responsibilities as a student
  • inability to repay a HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP loan
  • delays with the processing of a submitted enrolment change
  • incorrect enrolment
  • experiencing symptoms of an ongoing or pre-existing medical condition (except in cases where you can show your condition has unexpectedly worsened post census).

Students who are unable to complete a unit(s) within the teaching period due to special circumstances may be eligible for a Post Census Remission of Debt (PCRD) to remit the financial and academic penalties for the applicable unit(s).

A successful application for PCRD may improve your completion rate meaning you are still eligible for a Commonwealth Supported Place in your current course.

Please note though, that your completion rate, and ineligibility for a Commonwealth Supported Place, stand until such times as your financial and academic penalties are officially remitted.

There is no maximum count of units.

No. Your government assistance would not be retrospectively reinstated. 

If you choose to continue in a full-fee place beyond the census date, whilst your PCRD application is still pending, you are unable to be changed back to a Commonwealth Supported Place, even if your PCRD application is successful in improving your completion rate to 50% or more.

However, you will be able to resume the course in a Commonwealth Supported Place from the beginning of the next teaching period.  

Keep on exploring

  • Reviews and appeals

    You may apply for a review or appeal a University decision. Learn more about the review and appeal process as well as your right to request an external review or appeal.

  • Understanding your academic results

    Find everything you need to know about accessing and understanding your academic results here at Swinburne.

  • Student support services

    Need support? Swinburne’s student support services can help with your studies, career, health and wellbeing, accommodation, child care, IT, safety and more.

Want to speak to someone?

Contact an Academic Development Advisor if you need help understanding how this might impact you.

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