What is a ‘census date’, and why does it matter?
Make sure you are aware of the Census Dates that apply to your Uni or college course, so that you can withdraw without financial or academic penalties if you need to. If you don’t know what a census date is, then this article is a must.
No doubt you’ve heard of the Australian census – especially since the problems encountered with the online system during the 2016 census. Once you get to Uni or college there is another ‘census’ you need to know about – the census date that applies to every subject that you take.
What is a Census Date?
The census date is set for each subject or course by the institution offering the subject. This is the date on which the university or college finalises your enrolment, and the date you can drop or defer a course or subject without incurring any financial or academic penalties.
Census dates apply in each semester or session. Typically, the date will be at the end of teaching week 3 or 4 in the semester or session. Short or intensive courses will have different census dates which may be closer to the start of the teaching period.
The census dates for each institution may be different – so if you are studying somewhere different to your friends, you need to pay attention to the census dates applied by YOUR institution.
You will have a fee liability for course fees and other university or college administrative fees for each subject in which you are enrolled. If you drop or defer a subject on or before its census date, you will not have to pay the course fees, or other fees levied by the institution for that subject.
Other financial triggers that apply to the census date are:
- it is the last day you can make up-front fee payments
- it is the last day you can apply for HECS-HELP and/or FEE-HELP loans
- it is the date you become liable for HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP debts.
What happens if I drop out after the Census Date?
If you drop the course or subject after the census date, you will have to pay all fees and charges for which you were originally liable. In addition to incurring financial penalties, you may also be penalised academically.
The Census Date is also the last day you can discontinue a subject without it appearing on your academic record. If you withdraw after the Census Date, the subject may be shown on your academic record as ‘Withdrawn’ or similar. You may also be subject to a ‘Fail’ result depending on how long after the Census date you leave it before you withdraw.
Is there any leeway for special circumstances?
Exceptional or special circumstances will usually be taken into account by your University or college. You would need to apply for consideration for special circumstances, and to discontinue without penalties. In this instance, you may also be able to apply for a refund of the financial penalties. Not all applications may be successful. There will be a limited time period in which you would be able to apply for special circumstances consideration. Once you have started your Uni or college course, knowing what the census date is vital to ensure you can withdraw without financial or academic penalties if you need to.