Fees and charges

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CRICOS Providers exempt from registration fees in 2020 and 2021

On 30 April 2021, the Australian Government announced a package of measures to support Australian international education and training providers most affected by COVID-19 and border closures. This package included extending the waiver of certain fees for the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) registrations for a further six months to 31 December 2021. As part of this package all new and existing CRICOS-registered providers, will not be required to pay the Entry to Market Charge (EMC), for a further six months from 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2021. No action is required of providers and fees will automatically be waived.

An initial 18 months of regulatory fee relief, from 1 January 2020 to 30 June 2021, was part of the Government’s Higher Education COVID-19 Relief Package, announced in April 2020.

Extending fee relief to 31 December 2021 allows providers to retain those funds within their businesses, allowing them to focus on their students and on continuing the work of positioning their operations for recovery.

Further details on the Sector Regulatory fee relief can be found in the Factsheet.

The Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Regulations 2011 have been amended to:

  • exempt all new and existing CRICOS-registered providers from the requirement to pay the 2021 Annual Registration Charge (ARC); and
  • exempt all new and existing CRICOS-registered providers from the requirement to pay the EMCs, for the period 12 April 2020 to 31 December 2021.

Revised CRICOS registration charges

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is amending CRICOS cost recovery arrangements as per the 2021-22 Budget announcement. The new arrangements will recover the costs of the department’s CRICOS regulatory activities, including as the ESOS Agency for schools.

The department undertook initial public consultation on revised CRICOS charging arrangements in January 2020. A further round was undertaken in May – June 2021.

An Exposure Draft of the Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) was published for stakeholder feedback. The CRIS provides information on how the new charging arrangements will be implemented, including documenting the charging model and each regulatory activity that is cost recovered.

Feedback on the Exposure Draft of the CRIS closed on Monday 23 August 2021.

What happens next

The department will publish a final CRIS prior to implementation, incorporating any changes from the feedback received.

The Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment Bill 2021, and related Bills, which provide the legislative authority for the revised CRICOS charges, have been passed by the Parliament and received royal assent on 27 August 2021.

New ESOS (Registration Charges) Regulations 2021 will be made to support the new charges. These will prescribe the method and amounts the department will use to calculate the three new CRICOS registration charges to be applied from 1 January 2022:

  • CRICOS Annual Registration Charge (CARC)
  • Schools Initial Registration Charge
  • Schools Renewal Registration Charge

The revised charging arrangements will also remove the EMC for all providers and the ARC will be replaced by the CARC.

Exposure drafts of the Regulations will be released later this year.

The revised charges will apply from 1 January 2022.

How the department developed the statements

The department developed the CRIS in consultation with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the Department of Finance, taking into account feedback received in the previous consultation process.

The department is conducting this process in line with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines and the Australian Government Charging Framework. The key principle underpinning the Framework is that whoever creates a need for regulation should bear the cost of the regulation being provided, rather than those costs being met by taxpayers more broadly.

More information on the revised charges

Revised cost recovery arrangements for TEQSA and ASQA, previously scheduled for introduction from 1 July 2021, will now also commence from 1 January 2022.

TEQSA and ASQA will consult separately with higher education and skills and training providers respectively on the CRICOS charges that form part of their whole of agency revised cost recovery models.

The revised charges represent an overall reduction in the department’s CRICOS charges.

The below information outlines how the current ARC and EMCs operate until the changes apply from 1 January 2022, noting all CRICOS providers are currently exempt.

The new charges will continue to be based on data in PRISMS. Providers are advised to ensure their PRISMS records are kept up to date as required under the ESOS Act.

ARC 

Please refer to above section regarding exemptions from the 2020 and 2021 ARC fees.

The following charges are imposed by the ESOS Act and the ESOS Registration Charges Act:

  • entry to the market charge
  • annual registration charge
  • late payment penalty
  • reinstatement fee

What is the ARC?

The ARC is an annual charge payable by CRICOS registered providers. It comprises a base fee plus a per enrolment component based on the total number of enrolments of overseas students on student visas in each course plus the course by location component provided by your organisation in the relevant ARC calendar year.

Providers liable to pay the ARC

All providers registered or suspended on CRICOS as of 1 January 2020 are required under Section 23 of the ESOS Act and Section 8 of the ESOS Registration Charges Act to pay an Annual Registration Charge (ARC).

The ESOS Act requires that you pay the ARC by the last business day of February 2020.

How is it Calculated?

The ARC payable is comprised of four components (which includes the indexation fee):

  • $1505 base fee* plus
  • $10 per student enrolment per calendar year plus
  • $115 for each course by location registered on CRICOS plus
  • $1156 payable only by a provider against whom the Minister has imposed sanctions for non-compliance under section 83 of the ESOS Act in the past 12 months.

*Government and non-government schools that did not have any enrolments in the previous calendar year but maintained a registration pay a lesser base fee of $423.

All ARC amounts payable are determined based on enrolment data plus course by location stored in PRISMS.

Impact on providers

Section 19 of the ESOS Act creates an obligation for providers to notify the department (via PRISMS) of a range of specified events relating to student enrolments, including name, course, course location, start date and expected duration of the course, termination of studies, changes in identity or duration of a course, and any other prescribed matter relating to accepted students.

What this means, in short, is that at any point in time, so long as providers are meeting their responsibilities under Section 19 of the Act, PRISMS should be a complete and accurate representation of the student profile at their institution. Furthermore, there should be no difference between their own records and those kept on PRISMS and consequently no adverse impact associated with the use of PRISMS data.

What do we need to do?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my organisation ARC-ready?
  • Are my PEO’s contact details up to date?
  • Do our enrolment records in PRISMS reflect our actual enrolments?        
  • Do ours courses and their current locations of delivery in PRISMS reflect our actual delivery?
  • Would we be confident using our data if the ARC were calculated today?

If you are not sure of any of these answers or you know the response is 'no', you will need to take action to review your data.

The key messages you need to remember are:

  • Accurate enrolment and course by location data in PRISMS is essential for an accurate ARC calculation.
  • Ensuring the PEO contact detail is accurate will mean you receive the correspondence and Invoice.

Reviewing your previous calendar year’s enrolment figures

How do I review my data?

The enrolment data on which your ARC calculation is based is available in PRISMS via the ‘ARC Enrolment by Student by Course Export’. This export provides a list of overseas students that undertook or are still undertaking a period of study in a given course at your organisation in the relevant calendar year. 

An additional report – the ARC Enrolment Statistics – is also available. Run this report to see a screen display of the current estimate of your ARC liability based on the number of enrolments for the previous calendar year. Remember that this is an estimate only, as at the time you run the report. Your actual liability will be calculated in mid-January of any calendar year and advised to you through the department’s ARC payment website.

It is recommended that you use the 'ARC Enrolment by Student by Course Export' to gain an overview of the overseas student enrolments for your organisation for the relevant enrolment year, as it presents the data in the summarised format of one line of data per student per course. If you wish to view further details of the individual CoE records on which this export is based, this information is available via the ‘ARC Raw CoE Data’ export within PRISMS.

It is also recommended that you revise the Course by Location Export as it presents the data in the summarised format of one line of data per course per location.

To review the data that will be used as the basis for determining your ARC,

you will need to:

  1. Logon to PRISMS >> Go to the 'Available Reports' tab >> Click on 'List of Reports' >> Click on 'ARC Enrolment by Student by Course Export' option, enter required information and then generate the report.
  2. Review the list of students that studied or are still studying in each course at your organisation during the relevant enrolment year.
  3. From the 'List of Reports' >> Click on 'Course by Location Export', and generate the report on all courses and their current linked locations as they currently exist in PRISMS.
  4. Review the list of courses and locations at your organisation during the relevant enrolment year.

Updating your enrolment data

If you do not agree with the PRISMS enrolment data presented, you will need to update the data stored in PRISMS by creating additional CoEs or reporting on CoEs until you are satisfied that the PRISMS data accurately reflects the enrolment situation for the previous calendar year for your organisation. This checking and verifying process may also include reconciling an in-house system to PRISMS, such that the enrolment figures in both systems are the same. 

The list below presents some of the issues you may find with your data and how they can be addressed:

Issue How/why it may have occurred Remedy
The list doesn’t show a student that studied in a particular course A CoE was not created/approved for the student or the CoE expired and never went to Studying status. Create a CoE with backdated studying dates or update the expired CoE to Studying or Finished
The list contains a student that never studied A CoE was created and not reported on Report on the CoE
The list indicates a student studied for a shorter time period than they actually did The entire period of study a student undertakes with your organisation should be represented by one or more CoEs.  If the student studied longer than the CoEs indicate, check the original records in PRISMS.  The dates of study on the existing record(s) should cover the same period the student actually studied with your organisation Create a new CoE to cover the missing period
The list indicates a student studied for a longer time period than they actually did. In most situations, when a student deviates from their originally intended period of study, you need to report them. If you find that a student is listed as having studied for a longer period on PRISMS than they actually did, you will need to update the relevant CoE to report the reason for the shortened period of study. Report on the relevant CoE to indicate why there was a change to the originally intended period of study.

Further information on how to report on CoEs can be found in the SCV Quick Reference Guide and PRISMS User Guide.

Updating your course by location data

When you review the ‘course by location’ export you will see that if a course is recorded as being held at a specific location a Y is placed against that location. Alternatively if the course is not recorded as held/offered/delivered at a specific location the field will be blank. In order to have accurate information you are required to use the following values ONLY to update the course to location relationship.

Remove: This value is to be placed against a location where a specified course is no longer being held. (Change Y to Remove)

Add: This value is to be placed against a location where a specified course is now being held. (Change Blank to Add)

Note: It is the responsibility of each provider to review their ‘course by location’ data in PRISMS and ensure that all courses are assigned against the correct locations where they are currently being held. You will need to contact your responsible regulator\designated authority to update any changes to courses and their associated locations.

Do not leave updates to course/location details to the last minute in December as this may not allow time for your staff to update the details on PRISMS/CRICOS, all by end of November.

Key ARC events

Time Event Purpose
October early January Data review To review the PRISMS enrolment data on which your ARC will be based. To help you do this, PRISMS contains an 'ARC Enrolment By Student By Course Export', which lists the enrolment data used to determine your ARC. This list should reflect the actual number of students that undertook or are still undertaking study at your organisation in the relevant calendar year.
October and December Information emails sent to all PEO and eBusiness contacts To provide further information about the ARC collection, including key dates and guidance for reviewing enrolment records.
Mid January ARC Notice sent to all PEO and eBusiness contacts. ARC Invoice sent to PEO only Email to eBusiness contacts contains address where invoice sent. PEO email contains invoice
January end February Payment period The last working day in February is the final day for payment of your ARC.  Any payments received after this date will incur a late payment penalty and/or automatic suspension of your organisations CRICOS registration.
End February Non Paying providers will be automatically suspended from CRICOS Section 90 of the ESOS Act states a provider who fails to pay a levy or charge will have their CRICOS registration automatically suspended

Department of Education, Skills and Employment email correspondence

The table below shows a list of the email correspondence sent by the department regarding the ARC collection.

Correspondence Sent to Sent
CRICOS - Preliminary notices Principal executive officers and eBusiness contacts between November and January
ARC invoice Principal executive officers and eBusiness contacts Mid January
ARC reminder notices Principal executive officers and eBusiness contacts February
Suspension Notification Principal executive officers and eBusiness contacts Early March
Late Notice Principal executive officers and eBusiness contacts End of March

Definitions

The following definitions will be used to determine overseas student enrolments for the purpose of calculating ARC amounts payable.

Overseas student

For ARC purposes, an overseas student is defined as any overseas person who studies in Australia under a Student Visa (Subclass 500) or (Temporary) (Class TU) visa, with the exception of:

  • AusAID students
  • exchange students in secondary schools (tertiary exchange students should be included)
  • overseas students approved by the Minister for Defence to undertake a course of study or training
  • under a scholarship scheme or training program approved by the Minister for Defence;
  • overseas students approved under another scholarship scheme, or an exchange scheme,
  • sponsored by the Australian Government to undertake a course of study or training in Australia; and
  • dependants of primary student visa holders.

Enrolments for any of the above five student types are referred to as non-ESOS and are identified within PRISMS based on visa information received from the Department of Home Affairs. Once identified, non-ESOS CoEs are cancelled and excluded from the ARC exports and the ARC calculation.  If you become aware that an existing student belongs to one of the five groups described above or moves onto a non-student visa (such as a permanent resident visa), you can use PRISMS to report that the student no longer holds a student visa.  This will result in the CoE (or part of the CoE) being identified as non-ESOS and excluded from the ARC calculation. 

If you have questions regarding the ESOS status of a student/CoE or how to report ESOS status changes, please contact the PRISMS Help Desk on prisms@dese.gov.au.

1 (or full) enrolment

An overseas student who is enrolled and commences study in a course of 26 weeks or more duration at any time during the calendar year will be counted as one enrolment.

0.5 (or half) enrolment

An overseas student who is enrolled and commences study in a course of less than 26 weeks duration at any time during the calendar year will be counted as 0.5 of an enrolment.

0.25 (or quarter) enrolment

An overseas student who is enrolled and commences study in a course of less than 13 weeks duration at any time during the calendar year will be counted as 0.25 of an enrolment.

Proposed course start date

The date on which the student was proposed to commence study at your organisation. However, if the start date of the proposed period of study is prior to 1 January of the reporting calendar year, the date to be used for the proposed course start date for the purpose of calculating the ARC will be 1 January of the reporting calendar year.

Proposed course end date

The date on which the enrolment was proposed to end when the student was first issued with their confirmation of enrolment. However, if the proposed end date of the period of study is after 31 December of the reporting calendar year (for example, 15 February), the date to be used for the proposed course end date for the purpose of calculating the ARC will be 31 December of the reporting calendar year.

Proposed enrolment duration

The difference between the proposed course start and proposed course end dates in weeks. Please note that for the purpose of calculating the ARC the proposed duration of the student’s enrolment is used – not the actual period of study.

Multiple enrolments in the same course

If a student has more than one CoE (i.e. enrolment) in the same course, the CoEs can be merged. The relevant dates to be used to determine if the  enrolment is a full, half or quarter enrolment are the earliest commencement date or 1 January of the reporting calendar year (whichever is the latest) and the proposed end date corresponding to the most recently created CoE, or 31 December (whichever is the earliest).

Note: The PRISMS 'ARC Enrolments by Student by Course' Export determines this for you automatically.

Courses that span 2 or more years

An overseas student enrolled in a course that spans 2 or more years is counted as being enrolled in each of those calendar years.  The proposed course start date and proposed course end date to be used to calculate the enrolment duration are defined above.

Course Location

A provider is registered to provide a course for a state and if the provider lists one or more locations where the course will be provided.  The course is taken to be a separate course at each of those locations.

Calculating the ARC payable by your organisation

Using the above definitions, PRISMS will automatically determine the course by location cost, and which CoEs for your organisation are in-scope for the ARC calculation (i.e. those that indicate that a student undertook a period of study at your organisation during previous calendar year). The proposed study duration and enrolment type (quarter, full or half) is then determined.

This information is available for you to view (either in raw data format or rolled up to represent enrolments per student per course by location) via the list of reports within the reporting module of PRISMS.

An additional report – the ‘ARC Enrolment Statistics’ is also available. Run this report to see a screen display of the current estimate of your ARC liability based on the number of enrolments for the previous calendar year. Remember that this is an estimate only, as at the time you run the report. Your actual liability will be calculated in mid-January of any calendar year, and advised via send the Invoice to the PEO via email.

Also run the “Course by Location” export to review all courses and their current linked locations as they currently exist in PRISMS. It is the responsibility of each provider to review this data to ensure all courses are assigned against the correct location(s).

Paying your ARC

Overview

The department will send an ARC Invoice to the Principal Executive Officer for your organisation in mid-January each calendar year. eBusiness contacts will receive a notification that the email has been sent to the PEO's email address. It will also contain instructions for verifying enrolment data and finalising payment of the ARC.

Further information regarding processing your ARC payment will be provided at a later date.

Payment for multiple registrations

Note – this option is only available if paying offline

If you are responsible for multiple CRICOS registrations, you will be sent a separate invoice for each registration in mid-January.  We encourage providers to make separate payment for each invoice they receive.   If you are going to pay for several Registrations in one go – contact us first:

Receipts

Please note that receipts will not be issued unless requested. If you are paying online, you can print a copy of the receipt when you have completed your payment. If you are paying offline, please print the invoice and annotate as a record of your payment.

Penalty for late payment

A late payment penalty will apply to all payments received after the due date of the last date of February. The late payment penalty is imposed by section 172 of the ESOS Act and will be automatically calculated when you make your payment. It is calculated using the following formula:

Late payment penalty = [ARC payable x 20% x (no. of days after 28/02/2020)] divided by 365

Failure to pay

The Minister (or delegate) will take action to automatically suspend your registration from CRICOS for failure to pay the ARC.  A reinstatement fee of $579.00 in 2020 is payable when the suspension is removed. 

Registration on CRICOS

Prior to CRICOS registration, all new providers are required to pay two invoices; the first Entry to Market Charge (EMC) and the Tuition Protection Service (TPS) initial Levy.

Entry to Market Charge (EMC)

Please refer to above section regarding exemptions for 2020 and 2021 EMC fees.

The Entry to Market Charge (EMC) is payable annually in each of the first three years of CRICOS registration.

Section 6 of the ESOS Registration Charges Act, states that the following amounts are payable over three years:

  • $8,676 (2020) at the time when the Provider becomes registered to provide the course for the State under Section 11 of the ESOS Act
  • $5,784 (2020) at the end of the first anniversary of the day on which the Provider was registered to provide the course for the State under Section 11 of the ESOS Act
  • $2,882 (2020) at the end of the second anniversary of the day on which the Provider was registered to provide the course for the State under Section 11 of the ESOS Act. at the end of the second anniversary of the day on which the Provider was registered to provide the course for the State under Section 11 of the ESOS Act.

The second and third charge only applies if the Provider is still registered to provide the course for the State on the relevant anniversary.

Section 7 of the Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Regulations 2011, states that Government Schools, State or Territory VET institutions and Table A providers are exempt from paying the EMC.

Tuition Protection Service (TPS) initial Levy (TPS initial Levy)

The TPS initial Levy comprises of an administrative fee of $111 and a base fee of $223 (2020). Once a provider has paid both the EMC and initial TPS Levy, they will be registered on CRICOS.

*Please note that the dollar amounts for the EMC and TPS initial Levy are subject to indexation as per Section 7 of the ESOS Registration Charges Act.

Additional information on the TPS Levy can be found at: https://tps.gov.au/.

Further information

View our frequently asked questions.

If you have any questions about the ARC payment, or need assistance with your enrolment data or processing your payment, please refer to the ARC Brochure or contact the ESOS ARC Mailbox.