Illustration of Australian animals and a firefighter.

Options for bushfire affected UNE students

Photo credit: @art.plez

**UPDATE** – 8/1/2020 – Special arrangements provided by UNE

UNE has made special arragements for student affected by the bushfires. An automatic 1 week extension applies for all affected students unable to submit assessments by the due date – contact your Unit Coordinator as soon as it is realistic for you to do so, to let them know of your circumstances.

If fires have impacted your studies, please do contact Student Success on 02 6773 2000 or via AskUNE as soon as it is possible, and realistic, for you to do so. We understand that normal timelines for submitting requests may not be feasible. Flexibility will be applied where you are not able to submit a request in the normal timeframes due to the impact of fires.

UNE is determining what can be offered to students unable to sit exams or attend intensive schools, with an announcement due soon. For up to date information, see here.

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The bushfire crisis of 2019-20 has impacted a great number of people across Australia. Many UNE students live all over Australia, and we know that many of you have been affected. We very much hope that you and your family are okay.

If you have been affected by unexpected circumstances, such as the bushfires, while studying there are options available. What option will suit you depends on your own personal circumstances, including exactly what has occurred, whether you have completed any assessments so far, whether you will be able to complete further assessments or sit exams.

But you need not do it alone! At Advocacy & Welfare, we can help you determine which application will suit you, and help you complete the forms. We can be reached on (02) 6773 3116 or at advocacy@une.edu.au.

Student Success can also offer assistance on (02) 6773 2000 or askune@une.edu.au. If you do speak with Student Success or Support, they may refer you to us for help completing the forms.

If you have, or will be able to, complete your assignment or sit your exams:

Special Consideration

If you will be able to complete your final assessment or sit an exam, but there have been extenuating circumstances that have affected your ability to prepare, Special Consideration is a good option. When Special Consideration is granted, it means you can be given up to an extra 3 marks (3%) toward your final grade for the unit.

Special Consideration can also be used on assessments or exams that have already been submitted or attended, although the application must be submitted within 5 working days after the final exam or assessment. For more information and the application, see here.

Extensions

If you are due to submit an assignment soon but will require more time, you can apply for an extension. Most extensions granted will be for a maximum of one week past the due date, although longer extensions are sometimes possible depending upon your circumstances. For extensions longer than 2-3 weeks, see Special Extensions of Time below.

It is important to request an extension before the assignment is due. Different schools have different processes for extensions. In many Schools, you should email your Unit Coordinator to request an extension, however some schools have a more centralised process. See here for more information on who to contact.

If you have not been able to complete, and will not be able to complete assessments or exams:

Exams – Special Examinations

If you will be, or have been unable, to sit your exam, it is possible to apply for a Special Exam. If a Special Examination is granted, it means you can sit or re-sit your exam at some point into the following Trimester, usually in the next Examination Period. This can be either an online exam or in-person exam, depending upon the unit and your personal preference or tech capabilities. Applications for Special Exams must be submitted within 5 working days after your last scheduled exam. You can see more information here, and access the Application here.

Assignments – Special Extension of Time

A Special Extension of Time (SET) is for assignment extensions of more than 2 or 3 weeks, where you have been unable to submit due to illness or special circumstances. The longest possible extension that can be granted with a SET is the last teaching day of the following teaching period, however the time length you are granted might not be this long and will be determined in light of your circumstances.

Applications for SETs must be submitted within 5 working days after the start of the Examination Period for this Trimester. It is highly recommended that you contact your Unit Coordinator to advise them of your intention to submit a SET application, so they are aware of your request. More information and the application can be accessed here.

Remission of fees:

A Remission is the cancellation of a HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP debt for a unit, or a refund of full-fees if you paid upfront. The fee or debt can be removed if you meet the 3 criteria for a remission of fees application. The basic requirements are that circumstances outside of your control had a significant impact upon your ability to study, on or after Census Date.

If the Remission is granted, it also removes any academic penalty for the unit. Remission applications must be submitted within 12 months from the end of that teaching period, or the date you withdrew. We have written an entire blog about the requirements for a Remission of Fees application, available here.

If you are thinking about withdrawing from current unit/s…

If you have considered withdrawing from units you are currently undertaking, we strongly recommend you speak with Student Success. While we understand bushfire recovery will be the first thing on your mind, there are things you must consider before taking the step to withdraw.

Student Success can advise you of any issues regarding course progression, i.e. the ability to complete necessary pre-requisites, when the same unit is offered again, your ability to complete your course on time, etc. Please also keep in mind that withdrawing from units in a Trimester could have ramifications for your Centrelink eligibility.

Financial assistance:

The Student Emergency Assistance Fund can provide students with up to $1000 for students who find themselves in unexpected or unforeseen financial hardship, including because of drought, natural disaster, family circumstances, health or medical emergencies and other one-off issues. These applications can be submitted at any time throughout the year. The process involves speaking with us here at Advocacy & Welfare. We will discuss your circumstances with you, provide the application form and work together to submit your application.

The fund does not have the capacity to support a recipient with ongoing costs, and students should note that funds, where provided, are done so on a one-off basis and there are limits in terms of how much funding is available or can be provided to each applicant.

Financial assistance external to UNE can be accessed from many different organisations, for example the Red Cross and the Australian Government.


While taking care of this aspect of your study is important, so is managing your emotional wellbeing and mental health. UNE students can access free counselling through UNE Student Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS)They are fully qualified and registered psychologists, offering on-campus appointments and phone/video chat sessions for online students. The service is confidential and free for UNE students.

You can contact them Monday- Friday, 9am-4 pm, on (02) 6773 2897.

For more urgent assistance, UNE offers After Hours Support on weekdays from 4.00pm to 9.00am AEST, weekends and public holidays. Phone 1300 661 927 or text 0488 884 169. Alternatively, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.


For assistance with any of the applications mentioned in this blog – or anything else! – get in touch with us.

Contact us at advocacy@une.edu.au or (02) 6773 3116.

You’re never alone at UNE.