Fee-based enrolment - FAQ

Thursday, 31 July 2003

In the interest of raising public awareness, here are the frequently asked questions and answers about fee-based enrolment at the University of Adelaide:

Q: What is fee-based enrolment?

In 2004 the University of Adelaide will make available a significant number of extra undergraduate places for students on a fee-paying basis. These places are in addition to those that the Commonwealth Government supports at the University (the HECS-based places).

These Australian fee-based places will be offered in all undergraduate degree programs except Medicine.

Fee-based places will allow increased numbers of students to enter their preferred program at first year or to transfer to their preferred program in later years of the course. Students who use this opportunity to successfully enrol at the University of Adelaide are known as "Australian fee-based enrolment students".

The establishment of these fee-based places will greatly improve the flexibility of access to the University of Adelaide.

Q: What does a fee-based place mean?

A fee-based place means that the student is responsible for the real cost of the degree. Under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS)-based enrolment, students contribute to their course by making the relevant HECS payment to the Commonwealth Government, which subsidises their place. In the fee-based system, the student pays a set fee for their program directly to the University.

Q: Why would students want to choose a fee-based place?

The main reason for a student to come to an Adelaide fee-based place is to allow the student to do the degree that they want at one of Australia's leading universities. Choosing a fee-based place means investing in your own future - you do the program that you want to do, which leads to the career you choose.

The advantage of fee-based places is that students who meet the required cut-off score are guaranteed a fee-based place in the degree of their choice. With HECS places, because of limited supply and high demand there is no guarantee that students who meet the cut-off will automatically be accepted into their chosen degree program.

Adelaide is a prestigious university, a member of the Group of Eight universities, and is recognised internationally. The city of Adelaide offers a quality, affordable lifestyle that could be argued as offering the best value for money in Australia. In addition, fee-based entry means that students can make their own choice and qualify for entry to a program on their own merits.

Q: Who will come to Adelaide for fee-based places?

Fee-based places will be available to students from Adelaide, from regional and country South Australia and from interstate. To qualify for an Australian fee-based place, students need to be an Australian citizen, Australian resident or New Zealand citizen.

Q: What programs can you choose at the University of Adelaide? Are all degree programs at the University of Adelaide offered through fee-based enrolment?

All undergraduate degree programs except Medicine are available for fee-based enrolment. This provides a great deal of choice and flexibility for students wishing to enrol in this way.

The University of Adelaide teaches undergraduate programs in a wide range of disciplines. Detailed information about the academic programs offered, their content and structure can be found in the program information leaflets which are available from the Student Centre or from our website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/courses/

Please note that fee-based places are NOT available in Medicine.

Q: Why is Medicine different?

A separate Q&A about entry into Medicine is available on the University's website:

Q: How many places are available for fee-based enrolment?

HECS places are provided by the Commonwealth government and there are a defined number of places available in each program. Fee based places are available in addition to this. The number of places will depend on demand, but the number of fee-based places is not allowed to exceed 25% above the number of Government-funded places, in any particular program.

Q: Is this the first time the University of Adelaide has offered fee-based entry?

No. The University has offered fee-based enrolment into undergraduate programs since 1998. The number of students taking up this offer has varied. In 2003 there are 17 Australian fee-based students currently enrolled in undergraduate degree programs at the University of Adelaide. Numbers for 2004 may increase as students realise that this opportunity for a fee-based place gives them the ability to study in their preferred program at a prestigious university.

This option has been very popular interstate with students. For example, the University of Melbourne had 1651 Australian fee-based enrolment students in 2002. (source AVCC)

Q: Fee-based places advantage the rich - what impact does that have on equity of access to university?

Currently the University of Adelaide attracts more than 2000 international students. These students are able to enrol on a fee-paying basis. By allowing Australian students this opportunity we are giving them the same access that international students already have.

Income raised from all fee-based students goes back into providing resources for all students at the University. This includes adding to efforts made by the University to raise money to support scholarship schemes for students from low socio-economic groups. In doing so, the University is helping to improve equity of access by utilising those funds effectively for all.

Q: Shouldn't students earn their degree, rather than buying it?

Fee-based enrolment students cannot buy a degree from the University of Adelaide. This system of entry provides them with an opportunity to undertake a degree, but at the University of Adelaide they must still earn it through academic merit.

Q: But if students buying a place into uni are of a lower academic standard, won't that lead to a drop in standards?

The TER (Tertiary Entrance Ranking) cut-off system merely reflects supply and demand. At the University of Adelaide, we may have 1000 students applying for less than 100 places in a particular degree program. When the demand is high, the TER can be driven up. If the TER is 90, but the student has received a TER of 80, does that mean the student is not capable and should be denied a chance of study? Additional places means additional opportunities for more students.

The University of Adelaide's fee-based enrolment process is geared towards maintaining academic standards. In order to gain entry to a fee-based place, the students must satisfy the University's academic requirements. The University of Adelaide has set the entry standards for Australian fee-based places at a level where it is expected that the student will be able to succeed in that program.

Past experience shows that fee-based enrolment students have performed well at the University of Adelaide. Their academic contribution to the University is no less than that of any other student.

Q: Don't fee-based places disadvantage HECS students by stretching resources?

Rather than stretching resources, the contribution of fee-based enrolment students will help the University of Adelaide to grow its resources, thereby leading to a better educational experience for all staff and students. Their contribution will allow the University to constantly improve its standards and continue to provide excellence in education.

Q: But fee-based places take away from HECS places, don't they?

No. The number of HECS places is set by the Federal Government. Australian fee-based places are always in addition to the HECS places, so instead of taking away from HECS places the University of Adelaide is offering extra educational opportunities to Australian students.

Q: Where are the best opportunities for fee-based undergraduate study at the University of Adelaide?

Fee-based enrolment is about giving students a choice. Apart from Medicine, study opportunities for fee-based enrolment exist in all Bachelor degree programs.

Q: What have previous fee-based students studied at the University of Adelaide?

Over the years, fee-based undergraduate students have enrolled into Bachelor degrees of Commerce, Health Sciences, Dentistry, Design Studies, Arts and graduate-entry Law. More information about academic programs offered can be found at our website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/courses/

Q: How does the fee-based system for Australian undergraduates compare with the system for international students?

Fee-based enrolment at the University of Adelaide will provide Australian students with the same opportunities and flexibility of choice currently enjoyed by international students. By giving Australian students greater access to all degree programs except Medicine, the University of Adelaide is improving equity of access for Australian students.

The academic criteria for entry for Australian fee-based students and international students is exactly the same. (International students must also satisfy English language requirements.)

Q: Are Australian fee-based enrolment students charged the same as international students at the University of Adelaide?

No. Australian fee-based enrolment students pay less than international students. International students require specific additional services relating to their arrival and their familiarisation with the University and Australia. Also the University is required to contribute to the Commonwealth Government an amount per student to promote Australia internationally. Fees vary depending on which degree program the students undertake.

Q: Do students have to pay their fees all at once?

No. Students will be issued with an invoice each semester. Fees need to be paid by mid March for Semester 1 and by mid August for Semester 2. It will be possible to make arrangements to pay the fees over the semester in three instalments.

Q: Will students be able to transfer from a fee-based place to a HECS-based place in later years?

Students will be able to apply to transfer to a HECS-based place. Limited numbers of these places become available as students defer or drop out of their degree. The selection for transfer will be assessed on academic merit.

Q: How will the application process work?

The South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) administers all applications to undergraduate programs on behalf of all three South Australian universities and TAFE. They will also administer the application and offer process for the Australian fee-based places to the University of Adelaide. This way the University will be sure that the quality of the process and the standards of entry are maintained.

Applicants must indicate their interest in being considered for a fee-based place at the University of Adelaide at the time of submitting their application to SATAC. Fee-based offers will be posted to eligible applicants two days following the issue of HECS-based offers in mid January and early February.

Fee-based offers will be made against set entry cut-offs.

Q: How can I found out more about fee-based undergraduate entry to the University of Adelaide?

More information about fee-based places in undergraduate degrees can be found at the University's website: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/afbs/


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The University of Adelaide
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