Governance

Policies and procedures

Policy No.
UP17/4
Function
Teaching And Learning
Authoring Organisational Unit
Academic Council
Date Approved
02/08/2017
Next Review Date
01/08/2018
Approving Body
Academic Council

The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarships

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy sets out the principles governing the framework for management, allocation and administration of the Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarships, as required by the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017 under the HigherEducation Support Act2003

This policy is to be read in conjunction with the Rules for Graduate Research Courses in the University Handbook, the UWA Policy on Graduate Research Training and the RTP Scholarship Conditions of Award.

Definitions:

The Research Training Program (RTP) is a dedicated pool of funding provided by the Australian Government under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to support domestic and international students undertaking Research Doctorate and Research Master degrees. This support is provided through Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarships. The terms of the Research Training Program are set out in the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017.

Continuing student means either:

• a student of the University whose period of support under the Research Training Scheme, International Postgraduate Research Scholarships or Australian Postgraduate Awards would terminate on or after 1 January 2017; or

• a student who has received from the University an offer of support under the Research Training Scheme, International Postgraduate Research Scholarships or Australian Postgraduate Awards, and accepted this offer of support, and whose offer of support was scheduled to commence on or after 1 January 2017.

Course of study means an accredited HDR course leading to a Research Doctorate or a Research Masters, for which the University has approved an RTP Scholarship.

Domestic student means, for the purpose of this policy, an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident or a New Zealand citizen who is enrolled or seeking to be enrolled in an HDR course.

External student means a student who has been approved by the relevant board to undertake their course of study at a location other than a campus of the University of Western Australia and whose enrolment is formally recorded as external.

Full-time student means a student who is enrolled in their HDR full-time. Unless other arrangements have been formally approved, a full-time student is expected to normally be on campus and available for supervision and contact between the hours of 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

HDR means a higher degree by research which is a Research Doctorate or Research Masters course for which at least two-thirds of the student load for the course is required as research work, as defined in the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017.

Indigenous student means a HDR student who identifies herself or himself as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent and is reported as such in the HESDC.

Internal student means a student who is not an external student.

International or Overseas student means a student who is enrolled or seeking to be enrolled in an HDR course and is not an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident or a New Zealand citizen.

Part time student means a student who has been approved by the relevant board to undertake their degree part-time. Part time is normally 0.5 of a full-time load but may be more in cases where a student who is enrolled in their research unit/s part time also enrols in a coursework unit.

Relevant board means a board relevant to the case in point. The relevant board may include a position or body of people with authority to carry out the function concerned. For the purpose of this policy the relevant board is the Board of the Graduate Research School or delegate/s for courses managed by the Graduate Research School and the relevant faculty board or delegate/s for courses managed by the faculties.

Research means Research and Experimental Development as defined in the Commonwealth Scholarships Guidelines (Research) 2017.

Research Doctorate means an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Level 10 Doctoral Degree (Research) qualification as described by TEQSA.

Research Masters means an AQF Level 9 Masters Degree (Research) qualification as described by TEQSA

Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship means an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. This scholarship has the following components, one or more of which may be allocated to an eligible and appropriately qualified student:

• A Domestic RTP Fees Offset Scholarship - used by the University to offset tuition fees for domestic Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students.

• An International RTP Fees Offset Scholarship - used by the University to offset tuition fees for International Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students.

• An RTP stipend - paid directly to domestic or international HDR students to assist with their living costs while undertaking their HDR course.

• An RTP Allowance - an additional allowance paid to or on behalf of a recipient of an RTP stipend.

Suspension means a period of time during which an HDR student has been approved by the University to temporarily cease: (1) enrolment in their course of study; and (2) receipt of any scholarship.

Policy statement:

1 Types of Support provided through the RTP

1.1 The University may use RTP funding to provide support to a student through one or more of the following components:

i. a domestic RTP tuition Fees Offset scholarship;

ii. an international RTP tuition Fees Offset scholarship;

iii. an RTP stipend; or

iv. an RTP Allowance.

1.1.1 The proportion and amount of the RTP grant to be applied to each scholarship component referred to in 1.1 is determined annually by the Vice-Chancellor or delegate, in consultation with the Graduate Research School, in light of ongoing commitments, projected commitments and the strategic requirements of the University.

1.1.2 To be eligible for a RTP stipend, RTP Fees Offset or RTP Allowance a student must:

i. be enrolled in a HDR course at this University;

ii. not be receiving an equivalent award or scholarship from the Commonwealth designed to offset HDR fees;

iii. for an RTP stipend, not be receiving income from another source to support their general living costs while undertaking their course of study if that income is greater than 75% of their RTP stipend rate. Income unrelated to the course of study or income related to the course of study not for the purpose of supporting general living costs is not taken into account.

1.2 Domestic RTP Fees Offset Scholarships

1.2.1 Domestic RTP Fees Offset Scholarships are governed by Conditions that are published on the UWA Website and are binding on all recipients.

1.2.2 Domestic RTP Fees Offset Scholarships replace the Research Training Scheme (RTS) and are used by the University to offset tuition fees for domestic Higher Degree by Research (HDR). No payment is made directly to students.

1.2.3 The number of Domestic RTP Fees Offset scholarships to be provided is determined from time to time by the Vice-Chancellor or delegate, in consultation with the Graduate Research School.

1.2.4 Domestic RTP Fees Offset scholarships are available for HDR courses in this order of hierarchy:

i. Doctor of Philosophy and other research-only doctorates;

ii. Master by research (only);

iii. Doctorates by thesis and coursework;

iv. Masters by thesis and coursework.

1.2.5 The duration of a Domestic RTP Fees Offset Scholarship :

i. for a doctoral student is up to four years for a full-time student, up to eight years for a part-time student and pro-rated for students whose candidature changes between full-time and part-time;

ii. for a masters student is up to two years for a full-time student, up to four years for a part-time student and pro-rated for students whose candidature changes between full-time and part-time.

1.2.6 Periods of study already undertaken towards the degree prior to the commencement of the scholarship are deducted from the maximum period of tenure.

1.2.7 Domestic RTP Fees Offset scholarships are not awarded via a competitive process but are allocated year-round, in conjunction with applications for admission, in accordance with this policy, the University Policy on Graduate Research Training and the rules for the relevant course. Application processes are published on the University Future Students Website. Domestic RTP Fees Offset scholarships are provided automatically to all domestic students offered places in HDR courses.

1.3 International RTP Fees Offset scholarships

1.3.1 International RTP Fees Offset Scholarships replace the International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS) and are used by the University to offset tuition fees for International Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students. No payment is made directly to students.

1.3.2 The number of International RTP Fees Offset Scholarships to be provided annually is determined by the Vice-Chancellor or delegate, in consultation with the Graduate Research School.

1.3.3 International RTP Fees Offset Scholarships are awarded via a competitive process managed by the Graduate Research School. Opening and closing dates for application, and the selection process, are published on the Graduate Research School website.

1.3.4 International RTP Fees Offset Scholarships are available for HDR courses in this order of hierarchy:

i. Doctor of Philosophy and other research-only doctorates;

ii. Master by research (only);

iii. Doctorates by thesis and coursework;

iv. Masters by thesis and coursework.

1.3.5 In allocating International RTP Fees Offset Scholarships the University may give priority to students who are enrolling internally, students who are enrolling in an HDR for the first time,or students who have not previously completed a degree either at the same level as, or at a higher level than, the degree for which candidature is sought. Priority may also be given to students who have not previously held an Australian Postgraduate Award, Australian Postgraduate Award (Industry) or an Australian Government-funded Postgraduate Research Award (excluding an IPRS) previously unless it was terminated within six months of the commencement of benefits; or students who have not previously been awarded a scholarship stipend; a UWA Scholarship for International Research Fees (SIRF) or other scholarship designed to offset HDR fees.

1.3.6 The value of an International RTP Fees Offset Scholarship is determined annually and published on the Graduate Research School website.

1.3.7 The duration of an International RTP Fees Offset Scholarship for a doctoral student is three years in the first instance, with two possible extensions of up to six months each.

1.3.8 The duration of an International RTP Fees Offset Scholarship for a master's student is up to two years.

1.3.9 Periods of study already undertaken towards the degree prior to the commencement of the scholarship are deducted from the maximum period of tenure.

1.3.10 International RTP Fees Offset Scholarships are governed by Conditions, which are provided to students as part of their offer, signed by students as part of their acceptance of a scholarship and maintained on the student file.

1.4 RTP Stipend Scholarships

1.4.1 The RTP Stipend Scholarships replace the Australian Postgraduate Awards (APA) and are provided to domestic or international HDR students to assist with their living costs while undertaking their HDR course.

1.4.2 The number of RTP stipends to be provided annually is determined by the Vice-Chancellor or delegate, in consultation with the Graduate Research School.

1.4.3 The value of an RTP stipend is determined annually by the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training, set out in the Conditions of Award and published on the Graduate Research School website.

1.4.4 RTP stipends are available for HDR courses in this order of hierarchy:

i. Doctor of Philosophy and other research-only doctorates;

ii. Master by research (only);

iii. Doctorates by thesis and coursework;

iv. Masters by thesis and coursework.

1.4.5 In allocating RTP stipends the University may give priority to students who are enrolling internally, students who are enrolling in an HDR for the first time,or students who have not previously completed a degree either at the same level as, or at a higher level than, the degree for which candidature is sought. Priority may also be given to students who have not previously held an Australian Postgraduate Award, Australian Postgraduate Award (Industry) or an Australian Government-funded Postgraduate Research Award (excluding an IPRS) previously unless it was terminated within six months of the commencement of benefits; or students who have not previously been awarded a scholarship stipend; a UWA Scholarship for International Research Fees (SIRF) or other scholarship designed to offset HDR fees.

1.4.6 The duration of an RTP stipend for a doctoral student is normally three years (full-time equivalent) in the first instance, with one possible extension of up to six months. An additional six-month extension to an RTP stipend may be available to candidates enrolling in specific PhD Programs as advertised from time to time on the University web site.

1.4.7 The duration of an RTP stipend for a masters student is up to two years (full- time equivalent).

1.4.8 Periods of study already undertaken towards the degree prior to the commencement of the scholarship or undertaken during suspension of the RTP stipend are deducted from the maximum period of tenure, unless the study was undertaken as part of a Commonwealth Government financially supported postgraduate research scholarship or award.

1.4.9 RTP stipends are governed by Conditions, which are provided to students as part of their offer, signed by students as part of their acceptance of a scholarship and maintained on the student file.

1.4.10 RTP stipends are awarded by the HDR Scholarships Committee via a competitive process managed by the Graduate Research School. Opening and closing dates for application, and the selection process, are published on the University's website.

1.5 RTP Allowance

1.5.1 A RTP Allowance is additional support that the University may provide at its discretion to or on behalf of a recipient of an RTP stipend, as follows:

1.5.1.1 for international students only, a standard Overseas Student Health Cover policy approved by the Commonwealth Department of Health and which covers the student and their spouse and dependants (if any);

1.5.1.2 relocation costs to Perth from within Australia to take up the scholarship and undertake a HDR;

1.5.2 For continuing students who would otherwise have been entitled to an allowance under the Conditions of the APA or IPRS, this allowance is equivalent to what their previous entitlement would have been. Entitlement to this allowance expires two years after expiry or termination of the Stipend.

2 Enrolment type

2.1 A student in receipt of a Domestic RTP Fees Offset Scholarship (only) may be enrolled in their HDR course full-time or part-time, by approval, in accordance with the rules of the course in which they are enrolled. In the absence of an application and approval for part-time enrolment a student is enrolled full-time.

2.2 A student in receipt of a Domestic RTP Fees Offset Scholarship and/or Domestic RTP Stipend is assumed to be enrolled in their HDR course internally. Students wishing to be considered for external enrolment must apply formally for this, in accordance with the rules of the relevant course.

2.3 A student in receipt of a Domestic RTP Stipend must normally be enrolled full-time unless they have been approved by the Graduate Research School to be enrolled part-time because significant, documented, carer responsibilities or health issues preclude full-time enrolment. A part-time stipend is paid at 0.5 of the full-time rate and is taxable. A student wishing to change their enrolment between full and part-time must apply formally to do so, in accordance with the rules of the course in which they are enrolled.

2.4 A student in receipt of an International RTP Fees Offset Scholarship or an International RTP Stipend is expected to be enrolled internally, full-time.

2.5 Where a domestic student in receipt of an RTP scholarship has been approved to change their enrolment between full-time and part-time their RTP entitlements are pro- rated accordingly.

2.6 A student in receipt of an RTP scholarship who wishes to change their Field of Research must formally seek approval to do so from the relevant board. Approval depends on the availability of suitable supervisory and resourcing. Approval to change a Field of Research does not alter or extend the student's entitlements to RTP scholarship support.

2.7 Any student wishing to change the terms of their enrolment that were approved at entry must apply formally to do so, in accordance with the rules of the course in which they are enrolled.

3 Continuing and transferring students

3.1 Continuing students in receipt of support via the Research Training Scheme, Australian Postgraduate Award and/or International Postgraduate Research Scholarships as of 1st January 2017 are transferred to the relevant RTP scholarship with no loss or gain of entitlement in terms of quantum or total period of support.

3.2 A student approved to transfer their RTP scholarship/s to UWA from another university is transferred to the relevant RTP scholarship at UWA with no loss or gain of entitlement in terms of quantum or total period of support.

3.3 A student who wishes to transfer their RTP scholarship from UWA to another university should apply directly to the other university and must formally withdraw from UWA prior to enrolling at the other university.

4 Students who upgrade or downgrade

4.1 A student in receipt of an RTP Fees Offset Scholarship who is enrolled in a Master by Research and is approved to upgrade from the master to a doctorate is provided with additional RTP Fees Offset time to bring the combined RTP Fees Offset support for their master and doctorate to that provided to a doctoral student (up to four years, full-time equivalent).

4.2 A doctoral student in receipt of an RTP Fees Offset Scholarship who is approved to downgrade from the doctorate to a Master by Research is entitled to only the RTP Fees Offset support provided to a masters student (up to two years, full-time equivalent). If they have already received or exceeded this support they are recorded as having exceeded their RTP Fees Offset time limit.

4.3 A student in receipt of an RTP Stipend who is enrolled in a Master by Research and is approved to upgrade from the master to a doctorate is provided with additional RTP Stipend to bring the combined RTP Stipend support for their master and doctorate to that provided to a doctoral student (up to three years, with a possible six-month extension).

4.4 A doctoral student in receipt of an RTP Stipend who is approved to downgrade from the doctorate to a Master by Research is entitled to only the RTP Stipend support provided to a masters student (up to two years). If they have already received or exceeded this support the RTP Stipend is discontinued, but there is no requirement for the student to repay any excess.

5 Provisions for leave and suspension

5.1 A student in receipt of a RTP Fees Offset Scholarship (only) is entitled to up to 20 working days' recreation leave and ten working days' sick leave per year in consultation with their supervisors. These leave entitlements may be accrued over the life of the scholarship but do not add to the tenure of the scholarship and are forfeited at the end of the scholarship.

5.2 A student in receipt of an RTP scholarship who applies for a period of suspension of candidature and scholarship/s may be approved to do so, subject to the rules of the course in which they are enrolled. The total period of suspension must not exceed one year throughout the duration of candidature unless the relevant board permits otherwise in recognition of exceptional circumstances.

5.3 During the suspension of candidature and scholarship/s referred to in 5.2 the student remains a student of the University, is expected to submit any Annual Progress and Interim Reports due during the suspension and retains access to student email and Library facilities. However, the student is not enrolled in load-bearing units, does not consume their RTP Fees Offset, does not receive stipend payments and is not covered by University insurance for activities undertaken as a student.

5.4 In addition to the provisions for leave and suspension above, a student may apply and be approved for unpaid maternity or parenting leave as described in the rules of the course in which they are enrolled. These periods of leave are managed administratively as suspensions of candidature and scholarship/s.

5.5 Provisions for paid recreational leave, paid sick leave, paid maternity and parenting leave and paid professional development leave for students in receipt of RTP Stipends are set out in the Conditions of the RTP Stipend.

6 Provisions for students undertaking work outside their HDR topic

6.1 Unless otherwise approved by the relevant board in conjunction with the supervisors and enrolling school/s, a full-time student in receipt of an RTP Scholarship is expected to normally be on campus and available for supervision and contact between the hours of 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Different arrangements may be approved for students enrolled externally or part time.

6.2 A student in receipt of a Domestic RTP Fees Offset Scholarship (only) may undertake additional work, paid or unpaid, as long as they continue to make satisfactory progress toward submission of their thesis within the agreed period.

6.3 A student in receipt of an International RTP Fees Offset scholarship or a Domestic or International RTP Stipend may undertake no more than eight hours' additional paid work between the hours of 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday in any week, unless Paid Professional Development Leave has been approved. Permission to undertake paid work between the hours of 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday is contingent on the student continuing to make satisfactory progress toward submission of their thesis within the agreed period.

6.4 A student in receipt of an RTP scholarship may undertake industry placements, research internships, professional practice activities or other similar enrichment activities undertaken as part of their HDR by approval of the relevant board in conjunction with the supervisors and enrolling school/s.

Such approval is contingent on:

i. the student making satisfactory progress toward submission of their thesis within the agreed period; and

ii. the terms of any scholarship or agreement by which the student is bound.

6.5 Approval of activities undertaken in 6.4 does not alter or extend the student's entitlements to RTP Scholarship support.

6.6 Activities undertaken in 6.4 are recorded formally by the Graduate Research School and reported externally as required.

7 Supervision, facilities and resourcing

7.1 Policy and process for the approval of supervision arrangements and provision of facilities and resources to students are set out in the University Policy on Graduate Research Training

7.2 The mutual expectations of students, supervisors, Graduate Research Coordinators and the Graduate Research School with respect to research training are set out in the University Policy on Graduate Research Training

8 Acknowledgement of RTP support

8.1 Every student who has received RTP scholarship support is obliged to acknowledge this support in their thesis. This obligation applies also to any other material such as books, articles, newsletters or other literary or artistic works which relate to the research project carried out by the recipient of RTP Scholarship if, at any time during or after completion of the HDR, the student, his/her supervisor or any other party publishes or produces such material.

8.2 With respect to the obligation under 8.1, the University must ensure that the Commonwealth's contribution is acknowledged in a prominent place and in an appropriate form. The acknowledgement must include the mention of the student's support through an "Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship".

9 Criteria for continuation

Continuation of an RTP Scholarship is subject to the student:

i. continuing to meet the eligibility criteria;

ii. maintaining continuous enrolment except when suspensions have been approved;

iii. submitting satisfactory milestone documents by the required date; and

iv. making satisfactory progress according to the rules of the course in which they are enrolled.

10 The University may terminate an RTP Scholarship:

i. if the student fails to meet the criteria for continuation as set out in section 9 of this policy;

ii. on submission of the thesis or the death, incapacity or cessation of enrolment of the student or at the designated end of the scholarship, whichever is earlier;

iii. if in the judgement of the relevant board the student is not carrying out the course of study with competence or in accordance with the offer of the scholarship; and no suitable alternative arrangements can be made for continuation; or

iv. if in the view of the relevant board the student has committed a serious breach of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research or relevant University policies governing academic or research conduct.

11 Arrangements when an RTP Tuition Fees Offset Scholarship ends

11.1 When a domestic student reaches the end of their RTP Tuition Fees Offset entitlement prior to submission of their thesis:

i. they must apply for and may be approved by the relevant board for an extension of candidature and their status is formally recorded as being over the time limit; or

ii. their candidature is terminated.

iii. if they remain enrolled the student is not liable for tuition fees but is liable for Student Services and Amenities fees.

11.2 When an international student reaches the end of their RTP Tuition Fees Offset entitlement prior to submission of their thesis:

i. they must apply for and may be approved by the relevant board for an extension of candidature; or

ii. their candidature is terminated.

11.2.1 Where the student referred to in 11.2 remains enrolled the student becomes liable for tuition fees and Student Services and Amenities fees.

12 Grievance, Review and Appeal Procedures

Policies and processes for lodgement of grievances, review and appeals against decisions of the Graduate Research School and Scholarships Committee are set out at http://www.postgraduate.uwa.edu.au/students/policies

13 Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN)

All domestic students in receipt of an RTP Scholarship are required to hold a CHESSN. The University takes the necessary steps to collect information required to create new CHESSNs and to locate existing CHESSNs.

Related forms: (Link)

TRIM File No:

F17/2378

Contact position:

Associate Director, Graduate Research School

Related Policies or legislation:

University Policy on Graduate Research Training (UP12/11)

Higher Degree by Research Course rules

RTP Scholarship Conditions of Award

Higher Education Support Act 2003; Commonwealth Scholarship Guidelines https://www.education.gov.au/research-training-program