On 1 January 2022, the Government implemented the Student Learning Entitlement (SLE).
What is the Student Learning Entitlement?
The SLE will give students 7 years of full-time subsidised study in Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP). A year of full-time study is known as an EFTSL (Equivalent Full Time Student Load), with your Learning Entitlement starting at 7 EFTSL. This is known as Ordinary SLE, you can also accrue 'additional SLE' and 'lifelong SLE', which will make up your total SLE amount. Your total SLE amount will be reduced in accordance with your overall study load in a CSP.
For example: Provider A offers a three-year bachelor degree worth 3 EFTSL in total. It has a full-time study load of 4 units each semester (0.125 EFTSL per unit).
Student A is enrolled in this course, commencing on 1 January 2022, and is undertaking a full-time study load. It will take them three years to complete the course and when they have completed it, they will have a remaining SLE amount of 4 EFTSL for future study they wish to undertake.
Student B is enrolled in the same course, commencing on 1 January 2022, and is undertaking a part-time study load of two units each semester (0.5 EFTSL per year). They will finish the course in six years, and will have a remaining SLE amount of 4 EFTSL for any future study they wish to undertake.
When does my SLE amount reduce?
Your SLE amount will reduce as you undertake study in a CSP, this does not occur however until after the census date for units you are enrolled in.
For example: Student A is enrolled at Provider A in a CSP with an SLE balance of 4 EFTSL undertaking a study load of 0.5 EFTSL with a census date of 03 April 2025. If they have remained enrolled in these units after the census date, their SLE amount will reduce to 3.5 EFTSL on 04 April 2025.
Student B is enrolled at Provider A in a CSP with an SLE balance of 4 EFTSL undertaking a study load of 0.5 EFTSL with a census date of 03 April 2025. However, they withdrew from these units on 01 April 2025 and so their SLE amount remained at 4 EFTSL.
What courses count towards your Student Learning Entitlement?
Any study that you undertake in a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) from 1 January 2022 will count towards your SLE amount. If you are unsure whether you are enrolled in a CSP, you should contact your provider.
Do my past CSP units count towards my Student Learning Entitlement?
Your SLE will not reduce for any study undertaken before 1 January 2022, only units of study with a census date after 1 January 2022 will count towards your SLE amount.
For example: If you started your degree in January 2021 and undertook a full time study load, the 1 EFTSL of units of study you undertook in 2021, will not reduce your SLE amount.
Assuming you are studying in a three year bachelor degree, only the 2 EFTSL undertaken from 1 January 2022, will reduce your SLE amount (in this case to 5 EFTSL, because 7 EFTSL – 2 EFTSL = 5 EFTSL).
You can use this remaining 5 EFTSL to undertake future Commonwealth Supported Study.
Can my SLE amount be re-credited?
You can have your SLE amount re-credited for units of study you did not withdraw from before the census date if you meet the criteria for 'special circumstances'.
To meet special circumstances, you need to show that what affected you:
- was beyond your control;
- did not make the full impact on you until on or after the census date(s) of the unit(s); and
- made it not practicable for you to complete the unit(s).
You apply for special circumstances with your university or higher education provider, and they will ask you to provide supporting documentation.
Your provider must receive your application within 12 months of your withdrawal day of that unit(s).
If you didn't officially withdraw, then your application must be made within 12 months after the period which you undertook (or were to undertake) that unit.
If you are not happy with your providers decision, you can apply for an internal review. This must be done in writing within 28 days.
If you are not happy with your provider's internal review decision, you can apply for an external review from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) within 28 days.
What is additional SLE?
As some students will require more than 7 years of full-time study to complete a long degree, there are provisions that allow you to accrue additional SLE. In addition to the 7 EFTSL of ordinary SLE that you are initially provided with, you can also accrue additional SLE under the following circumstances:
- if you are enrolled in an undergraduate course of study that has a course load of greater than 6 EFTSL
- if you are enrolled in an honours course of study and the course load of that course is less than or equal to 1 EFTSL
- if you are enrolled in a postgraduate course of study or a graduate entry bachelor degree.
The amount of additional SLE you will receive when you enrol in an undergraduate course of study has a course load greater than 6 EFTSL is as follows:
Course load + 1 EFTSL - 7 EFTSL (ordinary SLE) - Additional SLE previously used for any other course of study
For example: If you enrol in a undergraduate double degree in law and engineering that has a total course load of 6.5 EFTSL and have not previously used and additional SLE for another course of study, the amount of additional SLE you would accrue would be 0.5 EFTSL
The amount of additional SLE you will receive when you enrol in an honours or postgraduate course of study is as follows:
Course load - Additional SLE previously used for any other course of study
For example: If you enrol in a postgraduate course of study with a course load of 2 EFTSL and have not previously used any additional SLE for another course of study, the amount of additional SLE that you will accrue would be 2 EFTSL.
For example: If you enrolled in a Bachelor of Medical Science with a course load of 3 EFTSL, and you undertake a postgraduate Medicine course with a course load of 4 EFTSL following this and have not previously used any additional SLE for another course of study, the amount of additional SLE that you would accrue would be 4 EFTSL.
Noting that students may look to upskill/reskill and commence further study later in life, there are provisions for the accrual of lifelong SLE. You can accrue lifelong SLE under the following circumstances:
You will accrue 3 EFTSL of lifelong SLE the latter of:
- The first 1 January, 10 years from the date you commenced at a higher education provider;
- 1 January 2032
- If your course is restructured, and you are required to undertake more study than you would have otherwise, then you will accrue an amount of Lifelong SLE that is equivalent to the additional study you are required to undertake.