Distance Education Enrolment Fees

Version Number


Implementation Date



All state schools


This procedure outlines fees and charges, and eligibility criteria for fee exemptions, waivers and refunds, applying to distance education students.​​​​


The department’s seven schools of distance education are ‘schools of choice’ available to students who feel that services offered meet their educational needs.

Enrolment fees for the provision of distance education apply for home-based and non-state students under s69 of Education (General Provisions) Regulation 2006 (the Act). Under the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 a student may be eligible for an exemption, waiver (full or partial) or partial refund from payment of the distance education enrolment fee.  These students are not eligible for government subsidies; however they may be eligible for an exemption from paying the fee if enrolled in a School of Distance Education (SDE) program and satisfy specific criteria. Each year, the regulatory fees for distance education are increased in line with the Consumer Price Index.

State schools students may be exempt from paying the enrolment fee for a distance education program on the following grounds:
  • living in a remote area (as defined by s49 Meaning of remote area of the Act)*;
  • health/medical condition;
  • itinerant families;
  • exclusion (under s291 and 298 of the Act);
  • suspension because of a charge for a criminal offence (chapter 12, part 3, division 2 of the Act);
  • parental responsibilities; and
  • students in correctional centres.
*Students affected by transitional arrangements in 2014/15 who were not charged a fee will be liable for payment of an enrolment fee for enrolment in 2016. Like other students, interstate students may apply to the school of distance education principal for an exemption or waiver to the payable enrolment fee under Act.

Free distance education is available to mature age students with a remaining allocation of state education who
  • do not live within 16 kilometres of a mature age state school; or
  • have been refused enrolment at a mature age state school.
In certain circumstances, namely financial hardship and educational disadvantage (through lack of educational continuity), or in exceptional circumstances, a student may apply for a waiver of the distance education enrolment fee under the Act

Students enrolled in non-state schools may access an SDE for individual subjects. Non-state school students can apply for a waiver or a refund under certain circumstances through their school.

Waiver/refund applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis. Refund applications cannot be considered after the end of Semester 1 under Regulation s69A(3)(a). Where an applicant is not satisfied with a decision, they have 14 days after being notified to apply for reconsideration.


Parents are responsible for providing all relevant information and payment for enrolling home-based students in a SDE (if applicable).

Principals of Schools of Distance Education are responsible for overseeing the enrolment process, determining the eligibility for fee exemption/waivers/refunds, notification of the decision, ensuring natural justice in the decision-making process, managing invoicing and payment processes, and referring home-based students who have withdrawn or had their enrolment cancelled to the relevant Regional Director.

Regional Directors are responsible for reviewing waiver/refund decisions if requested, and case-managing home-based students who have withdrawn or had their enrolment cancelled.

Principals of non-state schools whose students undertake subjects through an SDE are responsible for completing and submitting all relevant information and providing a suitable learning environment, resources and support for students.


Enrolment of Home-based Students


  • complete the home-based student status nomination form for each student and provide evidence to support a fee exemption or waiver, where appropriate
  • pay an annual enrolment fee, if applicable
  • request, negotiate and sign a documented payment variance plan with the principal if required
  • provide access to necessary course materials and appropriate technology for the student
  • provide active on-site support including monitoring regular return of work
  • maintain close contact with teachers
  • ensure regular attendance by students at scheduled telephone lessons
  • pay ongoing telephone conferencing costs
  • where appropriate, complete the refund application form to request a part refund of the fee before the end of Semester 1 of the school year, stating the reasons for the application and the date enrolment ceased.

Principals of Schools of Distance Education

  • provide the home-based student status nomination form for each student
  • determine fee exemptions/waivers/refunds, notify parents of decision/reasons in writing, and retain associated documentation (e.g. medical certificate)
  • ensure fee waiver applicants are given natural justice by providing the opportunity to respond to relevant, credible and significant material adverse to their interests before the finalisation of decisions
  • when notifying parents of decision to refuse refund, advise that they may request a review of the decision within 14 days
  • invoice parents for applicable fees
  • negotiate, document and sign payment plans with parents if requested
  • provide reimbursement where waiver or part refund is granted
  • allocate fees for central recovery in October of the current school year
  • negotiate with parents to ensure full level of service including scheduled telephone teaching lessons is utilised
  • decide to recommend an enrolment be cancelled on grounds of non-payment of enrolment fees, following reasonable attempts to negotiate a payment plan with the person liable to pay the fees 
  • seek chief executive approval to cancel enrolments in circumstances where the enrolment fee has not been paid 
  • notify the person to whom the fee relates, and parents where applicable (in writing at least 14 days prior to the cancellation) of the chief executive’s intention to cancel the enrolment on the grounds of unpaid fees 
  • notify parents in writing when enrolment is cancelled and provide a Transfer Note if applicable if applicable
  • refer the student’s case to the region to manage their continued enrolment. 

Regional Director:

  • decide whether to cancel enrolments in circumstances where the enrolment fee has not been paid.

Enrolment of Non-State School Students

Principals of Schools of Distance Education

  • invoice non-state schools for applicable fees
  • determine applications made by non-state schools on behalf of students for fee waivers or part refunds ensuring natural justice by providing the applicant with the opportunity to submit further information in writing, before finalisation of the decision
  • notify the student applicant in writing, through the non-State school principal, of the decision whether to waive fees and reason for the decision, or to refund the part fee and reasons for the decision, advising that the applicant may request in writing a reconsideration within 14 days
  • process determinations for fee waivers and refunds, and reimburse the non-State school, where applicable.

Principals of non-state schools

  • complete the relevant SDE enrolment form and submit with fees before Day 8 of the school year or one month before the commencement of the second semester
  • complete the non-state school student waiver application form if required, including evidence that fees have been paid in full (i.e. receipt) and evidence to support the application under s 54 of the​ Act
  • complete the non-state school student refund application form if requesting a part refund of the fee, before the end of Semester 1, stating the reasons for the application and the date enrolment ceased
  • advise student applicants of the outcomes of waiver and refund decisions, and retain associated documentation
  • provide a suitable learning environment for the student
  • provide access to necessary course materials and appropriate technology for the student
  • provide a school study coach for active on-site student support including monitoring regular return of work and exam supervision
  • maintain close contact with SDE teachers through the non-state school study coach.

Regional Director:

  • instigate a review of the refund decision on request of the applicant.

Online Resources

Review Date

Attribution CC BY
Home-based students
Learners who choose not to attend and local State school although they have access to one (also known as "by-choice" students).