Student Defence Reserves and Emergency Services Support Policy

1. Preamble

Consistent with its Mission, Australian Catholic University recognises the dignity of each individual, supports the holistic development of students and provides appropriate levels of support for students in recognition of their diverse backgrounds, community service activities and career aspirations. It is committed to helping all students to achieve their academic and personal potential. In particular, this policy reflects its commitment to assist students who are members of the Defence Reserves and/or members of the Emergency Services to combine their academic and defence/emergency services/community activities successfully and to ensure that they are not disadvantaged academically or financially as a consequence of participation in such activities.

2. Definition

For the purpose of this policy:

Defence Reservist means any student who is registered as a member of the Australian Defence Reserves;

Emergency Services personnel means any student who is registered as a member of any formally-endorsed state/territory/federal emergency services organisation1 or other competent authority under a State Disaster Plan.

3. Applicability of policy

This policy relates to arrangements that may be put in place to assist students who are Defence Reservists or Emergency Services personnel to successfully pursue their studies at Australian Catholic University. It applies to students undertaking any course, whether non-award, undergraduate, postgraduate, coursework or research.

4. Available support

4.1 A student, who is:

  1. a Defence Reservist who is required to render Protected Continuous Full-time Service or is required or volunteers to undertake any Defence Reserve service, camp of continuing training or any other Defence Reserve activity; or
  2. an Emergency Services employee or volunteer who is required or volunteers to undertake any service during an emergency situation in which their Emergency Services unit is involved;

and where such activity affects their studies, may complete an Application for Special Consideration (SC) form and submit it to the relevant approval authority, in accordance with the Assessment Policy. Such application must be submitted as early as possible before commencement of that Defence Reserve or Emergency Services activity and normally within five working days of receipt of notification of such activity from the relevant organisation.

4.2 A separate Application for Special Consideration (SC) must be submitted in respect of each activity and/or occurrence in respect of which special consideration is sought.

4.3 Where a Defence Reservist or Emergency Services person applies for Special Consideration on the basis of required participation in any compulsory Defence Reserve or Emergency Services activity, the relevant approval authority will normally approve the application, upon being satisfied as to the compulsory nature of the activity.

4.4 Where a Defence Reservist or Emergency Services person applies for Special Consideration on the basis of voluntary participation in any additional Defence Reserve or Emergency Services activity, the relevant approval authority will consider all the circumstances of the case, and determine the application accordingly.

4.5 Where the Course Coordinator approves withdrawal from a unit(s) without academic penalty based on involvement in any Defence Reserve or Emergency Services activity, the student should also complete an Application for Re-credit of Student Learning Entitlement and Refund of Fees in Special Circumstances (RE) form if the student wishes to apply for withdrawal without financial penalty2. Such application will normally be approved, subject to the prescriptions of the Higher Education Support Act 2003.


1 Examples (but not an exhaustive list) include State Emergency Services, Emergency Management authority, Rural Fire Authority, Volunteer Coast Guard.
2 Relates to re-credit of Student Learning Entitlement and remission of HECS-HELP, Fee-HELP, OS-HELP or fee liability.

Page last updated: 28 Jun 2017

Short url: https://handbook.acu.edu.au/565048