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Enrolment Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) Charles Darwin University (‘the University’, ‘CDU’) recognises that enrolment into a unit or course is an important part of a student’s study experience, and brings with it the rights and responsibilities of being a CDU student. The University is committed to ensuring that enrolment processes are compliant with relevant regulatory requirements and are applied consistently, transparently and fairly for all students.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This policy outlines the process for administering students' enrolments at CDU and ensuring that enrolment processes are transparent, and decisions are consistent and fair.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This policy applies to all coursework students, domestic and international, who have gained entry into Higher Education (HE) coursework, Vocational Education and Training (VET), English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and non-award courses of study offered by the University.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) The University recognises that enrolment is a crucial aspect of the relationship with its students, consisting of mutual obligations and shared responsibilities. The University is committed to ensuring that all practices in relation to enrolments are:

  1. clear and transparent, with information on courses, units, enrolment and university policies being freely available and accessible to students;
  2. timely and accurate, so that students can apply and make changes to their enrolment with due consideration to the course requirements and any penalties that apply; and
  3. compliant with applicable external regulations and requirements.

(5) The University wants to provide all its students with the opportunity to succeed and to make meaningful contributions in their chosen careers and lives. In working together to achieve this, students have a responsibility to:

  1. inform themselves about study obligations and course requirements, including inherent requirements and permitted timeframes to complete their chosen course of study;
  2. adhere to regulations, policies and procedures of the University, and pay all fees and charges arising from their enrolment within the required time frame;
  3. ensure that they are enrolled in the correct course and units, at the correct location, and can reasonably expect to manage their chosen study load; 
  4. seek support and advice regarding their study program and actively engage in University processes and services that support academic development and achievement; and 
  5. maintain up-to-date contact details with the University and provide accurate personal information. 


(6) To be enrolled at CDU, students must meet the requirements for admission into their course, as per the Admissions Policy, and have been offered, and accepted, an offer of enrolment. This includes agreement to pay all fees, levies and charges directly arising from their enrolment.

(7) Students must have a Unique Student Identifier (USI).

(8) Enrolment allows a student to:

  1. participate in/attend classes and/or other educational and support activities of the University to receive recognition (a final grade) for the work done; and
  2. on completion of the requirements of a course of study, to be eligible to receive an award or awards from the University.

(9) Students should be enrolled into units as outlined in their study plans.

(10) Students must complete their courses within the maximum allowable time.

(11) For courses that are not in teach-out, the maximum allowable time to complete is twice the period required for a standard load to complete the course plus 1 year.

  1. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic may approve an extension to the maximum allowable time in special circumstances.

(12) The maximum allowable time to complete a teach-out course is specified in that course’s course transitional arrangements and will be communicated to students in line with the Higher Education Student Transition Procedure or the VET Student Transition Procedure, as applicable.

(13) Students may enrol in multiple courses, ensuring:

  1. that they can complete all their courses within the maximum allowable time and meet study load requirements.
  2. International student visa holders may concurrently enrol in more than one CRICOS registered course and should ensure they:
    1. request a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) for the second course; and
    2. meet the requirements of their student visa including the need to remain enrolled in a registered course, achieve satisfactory course attendance, and progress in their principal course of study.

(14) A student’s enrolment ceases once a student: 

  1. has qualified for the award (student enrolled in a course of study); or
  2. completed all requirements of the unit/s (student enrolled in a non-award course); or
  3. has their course cancelled for one of the reasons as outlined in this policy.

Personal information

(15) Students will need to provide all information necessary for enrolment.

(16) Each enrolled student will be issued with a CDU student number, which will be used by the University to collect and record information as it relates to the student's enrolment in accordance with University privacy policies, procedures and relevant privacy legislation. 

Full-time study load

(17) HE coursework students are considered full-time if they enrol in 30 credit points or more per semester or six month period.

(18) Special approval will be required from the Faculty head of discipline or delegate where a student wishes to enrol into more than 40 credit points in a teaching period in all courses of study. This is referred to as overloading their enrolment.

  1. Students are only eligible to increase their study load if they have achieved a grade average of Credit or higher in the previous 12 month period.
  2. Students cannot enrol in more than:
    1. 120 credit points in a 12 month period (1.5 EFTSL);
    2. 50 credit points in Semester 1, 2 or Summer Semester; or
    3. 20 credit points in an intensive period.
  3. Exceptions may be approved for courses delivered in intensive blocks and must be specified in a student’s study plan. 
  4. International student visa holders must follow their course study plan to ensure that they complete their course within the time frames of their visa.

(19) VET students are considered full-time if they enrol in a minimum of 20 contact hours per week.

  1. Domestic students may enrol in 75% of a workload, being 15 contact hours per week, and still be considered full-time.
  2. International student visa holders must maintain a minimum of 20 scheduled contact hours per week, unless otherwise specified by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

(20) ELICOS students are considered full-time if they enrol in a minimum of 20 scheduled course contact hours face-to-face per week.

Unit enrolments

Student initiated changes

(21) Students may enrol in additional units up until the end of the second week of Semester 1, 2 and Summer Semester teaching periods or the end of Week 1 for intensive units as published on the University webpage for Higher Education courses and VET Student Loan eligible students for VET Diploma courses.

  1. VET students, except VET Student Loan students, may add a unit at any time depending on the availability of units as advised by the VET delivery team.
  2. HE students require Faculty approval to enrol after these dates.
  3. Units cannot be added after Census Date unless it is due to University error or exceptional circumstances. These units require upfront full-fee payment.

(22) Withdrawal from a unit by a student may occur at any time prior to the teaching end date with the following impacts:

  1. HE students who withdraw:
    1. on or before the Census Date will incur no academic or financial penalties, however international students may be charged an administrative fee, and should refer to the International Students – Refund of Fees Procedure.
    2. after the Census Date will incur a financial penalty but no academic penalty where the unit is withdrawn prior to the start of week 9 for a 12 week semester or equivalent for other periods. These dates will be published on the University’s Important dates webpage.
    3. HE students who withdraw after these timeframes will incur both an academic and financial penalty.
  2. VET students who withdraw:
    1. within fourteen (14) days of the commencement of their unit, and have valid participation (as defined in the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) Non-financial audit guidelines) in that unit, will incur no academic penalties. No financial penalties will apply to domestic students, however international student visa holders may be charged an administrative fee, and should refer to the Domestic Student Fee Policy.
    2. after (14) days of the commencement of their unit, and have valid participation in that unit, will incur a financial penalty.

University initiated changes

(23) The University may amend a student's enrolment in a unit under certain circumstances, to meet University and/or legal compliance requirements.

  1. Where a unit has pre-requisite requirements, students who have not successfully completed the pre-requisites for the unit and who do not have faculty approval to enrol in the unit will be withdrawn from that unit without incurring financial or academic penalties.
  2. HE students enrolled in a coursework unit who have not completed the first assessment task by the Census Date may be withdrawn from the unit without incurring financial or academic penalties.
  3. VET students who are enrolled in a unit in which they never participate will be withdrawn from that unit without incurring financial or academic penalties. No student assessment can occur prior to the student commencing their study plan.
  4. Students who are at risk of not meeting course progression requirements may have a restriction to study load imposed under the Higher Education Academic Progression Policy.
  5. Where the university cancels a unit,  the student will be notified in writing and
    1. given the option to transfer to an alternative unit that meets course requirements 
    2. not incur financial or academic disadvantages
    3. or request a refund as per the Domestic Student Fees Policy or International Students Refund of Fees Procedure.

Credit points in excess of course requirements

(24) Students cannot enrol in units exceeding the number of credit points required to complete a course.

  1. The Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor or delegate may approve exemptions:
    1. in special circumstances including where a student has changed major or specialisation and requires extra units to complete their course;
    2. ensuring maximum allowable time for course completion is considered; and
    3. ensuring the exemption is specified in study plan.
  2. Units in excess of course requirements, where an approved exemption has been granted, will require upfront full-fee payment.

Undergraduate students enrolling in postgraduate units

(25) Undergraduate students cannot ordinarily enrol in postgraduate units.

(26) An undergraduate student can request approval from their course coordinator to enrol in postgraduate coursework units as general elective units only.

(27) If the course coordinator approves enrolment in the unit, the student must also request approval from the unit coordinator of the postgraduate unit.

Removal of penalties

(28) Students can apply to have academic and/or financial penalties removed from their enrolment in special circumstances. The application must include supporting documentation showing that the circumstances were:

  1. beyond the student’s control;
  2. did not make their full impact on the student until on or after the Census Date for the unit of study in question, or 14 days after classes have commenced if there is no Census Date; and
  3. made it impracticable for the student to complete the requirements for the unit during the period in which the student undertook, or was to undertake, the unit.

(29) International students applying to remove penalties from their enrolment may be required to provide evidence of compassionate and compelling circumstances.

Course intermission (break from study/leave of absence)

Higher Education students

(30) After completing one teaching period of study, a student may apply for an intermission (also known as a break from study or leave of absence). Students who are granted intermission will keep their place in the course, although not be actively enrolled in units.

(31) The decision to grant intermission will be made with consideration of course requirements including courses that are due to expire or are in teach-out, or if a student is nearing the end of the maximum allowable course duration.

(32) HE students may apply for only one period of intermission for a maximum period of 12 months.

  1. International student visa holders must submit documentation to demonstrate compassionate and compelling reasons to support their application. Student visa requirements will be included in the decision process when considering applications.

(33) In compassionate and compelling circumstances, the University will consider requests for a period of intermission beyond 12 months, or in the case of international student visa holders, an additional period of intermission, provided the total leave of absence does not exceed 24 months. Students will need to submit supporting evidence to support their request.

(34) There may be instances where a student may be placed on intermission due to one of the following reasons:

  1. intermission is a condition of their Learning Management Plan in accordance with the Higher Education Academic Progression Policy;
  2. the University is unable to offer a required unit and so the study plan is impacted; or
  3. delayed assessment of advanced standing has impacted a student’s ability to enrol.

VET students

(35) VET trainees and apprentices must apply to the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN) to suspend their training contract (Forms | GTNT).

  1. Students who have their AASN application approved will have their course enrolment placed on intermission with CDU.
  2. Students who do not have their AASN application approved have the option to continue in their course or withdraw from their course.

(36) International student visa holders must submit documentation to demonstrate compassionate and compelling reasons to support their application for intermission and are restricted to only one period of intermission up to a period of 12 months. Student visa requirements will be included in the decision process when considering applications.

(37) Other VET students who require a break from their agreed study plan must notify their lecturer and discuss how this will impact their course progression and completion.

Course transfer

(38) HE students may request to transfer to another course that is at the same or lower AQF level and meets the following criteria:

  1. the admission requirements of the new course are lower or equivalent to the current course;
  2. the new course does not have a quota restriction; and
  3. the new course is not in teach-out.

(39) International student visa holders will need to apply for admission into the course that they wish to transfer into and must meet the new course’s admission requirements.

(40) VET students who are enrolled in courses that are due to expire and have not met the requirements of the course will be transferred into their replacement course in accordance with the VET Student Transition Procedure and VET Recognition Procedure.

Cancellation of course enrolment

(41) A student’s enrolment may be cancelled, whereby they will no longer hold a place in the course, where any of the following apply:

  1. a student elects to voluntarily discontinue their course of study.
    1. Commencing international student visa holders wishing to transfer to another education provider within the first six calendar months of their principal course will need to apply to CDU for a Letter of Release. 
  2. a commencing international student visa holder fails to enrol into any units in their first teaching period.
  3. a continuing international student visa holder fails to pay their tuition fees after receiving an intention to exclude notice. 
  4. an international student visa holder’s Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) has been cancelled.
  5. a student has failed to re-enrol and has not obtained approval to take an intermission.
  6. a student has breached University policy and their actions have resulted in a suspension or cancellation of their enrolment under that policy.
  7. a student has exceeded the maximum time to complete their course.

(42) The University may cancel a student’s enrolment, whereby the student will no longer hold a place in the course, where:

  1. the student has no enrolment activity for at least 12 months and has not applied for an intermission; or 
  2. the student has enrolled into one or more units of study, but failed to engage (i.e. receive an FNS or NS grade) in all their units for a period of 12 months or greater.

(43) International student visa holders will receive written notice of CDU’s intention to report the decision to the Department of Home Affairs and will allow the student 20 working days to access CDU’s internal complaints and appeals process, except where the student’s health or wellbeing, or the wellbeing of others, is likely to be at risk.

(44) Students with lapsed or discontinued enrolments who wish to re-engage in their course must re-apply for admission to the University as detailed in the Admissions Policy.

Course re-instatement

(45) Domestic students may request by email to to be reinstated into their course without having to re-apply for admission within 12 months of their course being cancelled as long as the following criteria are met:

  1. the course is still offered for admission;
  2. the student can complete the course within the maximum course duration;
  3. the student was not excluded from the course due to poor academic performance or disciplinary reasons; and
  4. there is an available place in the course for the student to occupy.

Review of decision / complaints

(46) A student can submit a complaint in accordance with the Complaints Policy - Students.

Records and confidentiality

(47) Records will be kept and maintained in accordance with the Records and Information Management Policy and Procedure and the Privacy and Confidentiality Policy.

(48) Confidential records relating to actions and outcomes of student enrolments will be retained and held separately from student academic records. Records will be disposed of according to the relevant University Retention and Disposal Schedules.

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Section 5 - Non-Compliance

(49) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct - Employees or the Code of Conduct - Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures outlined in the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement 2022 and the Code of Conduct - Students.

(50) Complaints may be raised in accordance with the Complaints and Grievance Policy and Procedure - Employees and Complaints Policy - Students.

(51) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of fraud or corruption in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.