Advocacy Resources and Self-Help Materials

We know that not all problems require talking to an advocacy officer. Sometimes, you just need a useful place to easily find information.  

That's why we've put together a list of Swinburne's official policies for common issues that our advocacy service often handles.  

If you can't find what you need or want to talk about your problem in more detail, you always have the option to Contact us at any stage of resolving your issue.

Many of Swinburne’s policies will require students to make submissions through the complaint process.Our advocacy officers can meet with you at any time along your complaint journey to review your situation, advise on the most appropriate course of action and provide on-going support until a resolution is found.

  • Complaints & Feedback
    Swinburne’s approach to resolving complaints generally begins with a ‘local resolution’, which is meeting with relevant Swinburne staff. We recommend students arrange appointments by sending an email that details the issue and requests a resolution and follow up with a summary email to confirm what was discussed. Records like this will help students if they need to submit a formal complaint.
    For a formal complaint, students must detail the grounds of their complaint, provide supportive evidence, and propose a resolution. Meeting with an advocacy officer before submitting a formal complaint is highly recommended.
  • Reviews & Appeals
    Swinburne may make decisions students disagree with. Students can request a review for decisions outlined in the Reviews and Appeals Regulations 2012. Students have 21 working days to request a review.

    To appeal a decision, students must have adequate grounds for appeal and must apply within 21 days of receiving a notice of a review decision.

Many issues around assessments and marking may be resolved ‘locally’ by having a conversation with your unit conveyor. They may be able to help, or they may direct you to one of the following processes. If you are unsure how to proceed or would like help preparing submissions for any of these processes, you are welcome to contact an advocacy officer.

  • Request a recheck of your mark
    If you believe there may have been an error in the mark you have received from an exam, assignment, or other assessment item, you can request a recheck.

  • Special Consideration & Extension
    Special Consideration may be given to students when their studies are impacted by unfortunate and unforeseeable circumstances. An application with supportive documentation is required to be considered for Special Consideration.

  • Academic Misconduct
    Cases of Academic Misconduct are very serious. If you are facing this issue, we recommend that you contact an advocacy officer for an independent assessment of your case.

  • Conceded Pass
    A Conceded Pass grade may be granted for a single subject if a mark is between 45 and 49. There are eligibility criteria and rules to be awarded a Conceded Pass. Additional information can be found on Swinburne’s understanding your results page.

  • Supplementary assessment ("last to complete")
    If you’re an undergraduate or postgraduate student and passed all units to complete your award except one, you may be able to apply for a supplementary assessment (‘last to complete’).

Students changing their enrolment is common; however, sometimes issues happen which have unexpected consequences. Whenever students make changes to their enrolled subjects, they should carefully consider any relevant census dates to avoid financial and academic penalties.

  • Understanding University Fees
    All students pay fees; how much and when will depend on your circumstances. Factors like being a domestic or international student, and fee structures for different fields of study will determine your fees.

    Census Dates – Every unit you enrol into will have a census date. The census date is when all your enrolment and fee information needs to be completed, as the day after the census date is when students become liable for the unit fees.  

    One of the most common fee issues students ask for help with is applying for a refund of their unit fees. See below ‘Post Census Remission of Debt (PCRD)’ for help with this.
  • Taking a Leave of Absence
    Students may apply for up to 12 months Leave of Absence from their studies. Applications are not automatically approved; Swinburne will assess each students’ circumstances before approving Leave requests.

    If you need to alter your enrolment or take leave from your studies, you should first consider how that will impact your academic progression and whether any census dates have already passed. Students should consider meeting with Enrolment Specialist to discuss any possible consequences.

    An advocacy officer cannot provide academic advice, but we can help you understand the processes required and guide you to the relevant people to assist you.

  • Course & Unit Withdrawal
    Students encounter many challenges during their studies and may consider a need to withdraw from their course or units. Before students apply to withdraw from a course, we highly recommend that they speak with their Course Coordinator to first see if there are more appropriate options available.

    Students who need help changing their enrolled units should consider contacting an Enrolment Specialist.

    Important Note: Before withdrawing from a course or unit, students should always check for census dates to avoid financial and/or academic penalties.

    If students are unsure if a census date will affect them, or they have withdrawn after a census date, our advocacy officers can review your situation and provide advice.

If something unexpected and beyond your control prevents you from completing your studies, and became known after a census date has passed, you may be eligible for a Post Census Remission of Debt (PCRD) to remit the financial and academic penalties for the applicable units.There are strict rules Swinburne need to comply with to approve PCRD for students.An advocacy officer can guide you through the process, discuss your circumstances and help you understand if you are eligible to apply for a PCRD, and check if your special circumstances are likely to meet the eligibility criteria. An advocacy offer can also help you determine and prepare appropriate documents to support your application.

  • Scholarships

    Scholarships are available for both commencing and current students. Some scholarships are based on academic merit or community service. Other scholarships exist to support students from Indigenous backgrounds, students suffering financial hardship or who have relocated from regional areas to study.

    For international students,
    check out Swinburne international scholarship Scholarships may include conditions which students need to meet to continue receiving their scholarship funds.  If a student does not meet those conditions, the Scholarship team will contact them to discuss their circumstances. Students will need to explain their position and provide supportive documentation. 

Academic progression issues should be treated seriously; however, being notified that you’re at risk or need to show cause should not be cause for panic. The academic progression policy is designed to identify students needing help and connect them with support services.Advocacy officers can help students understand why they’re considered at risk or need to show cause, provide advice, and help prepare show cause submissions.

  • At risk
    Students who are having difficulties with their studies will be identified with a status of At Risk. When a student is considered At Risk, Swinburne will email the students with an explanation and provide a list of support services.

    If an At Risk student passes all their units in the following study period, they will no longer be considered At Risk. If a student’s progress has not improved, they may have their status changed to ‘Show Cause’.

  • Show Cause
    Students considered At Risk may have their status changed to Show Cause if they continue to demonstrate difficulties with their studies.

    An email from Swinburne letting you know that you need to Show Cause should be treated very seriously as the Show Cause process will determine whether you can continue your studies or will be excluded from your course. Swinburne gives you five (5) days to submit an online show cause submission.

    You can find Show Cause tip sheets and templates online, but if you are still unsure of how to proceed, contact our advocacy officers and they will help you understand the requirements for Show Cause submissions, and review your draft to ensure it contains all information and required supportive documentation.

    Students have three opportunities to pass LANTITE components. Additional attempts will require approval from Swinburne and an external panel. Students must submit written requests; an advocacy officer can provide advice and help prepare submissions.

  • Placements
    Placements are an exciting opportunity for students to gain industry experience, but sometimes, students encounter issues that can be difficult to navigate. While on placement, students can access all Swinburne support services and the Student Placement team for any problems. 

    Our advocacy officers can help students identify which support service to access, provide advice about policies and procedures, and provide ongoing support while students resolve their issues. 

  • General Misconduct
    If a student, while engaging in University activities or on campus, participates in improper behaviour, not in line with the policies of Swinburne and/or the Student Charter, then general misconduct has been committed.
    Swinburne takes a strict stance on misconduct issues and, depending on the severity of the conduct, students may be excluded from the university. Decisions made about misconduct are ‘reviewable decisions’ as outlined in the Reviews and Appeals Regulations 2012. An advocacy officer can assist students with preparing a submission to request a review of a misconduct decision.

  • Discrimination, Bullying, Violence, Sexual Harassment and Assault
    Swinburne works hard to create a place where everyone feels respected and safe. If students witness or experience inappropriate, concerning or threatening behaviour, it should be reported to our Safer Community team.
    If a student requires help responding to university decisions involving unacceptable behaviour, an advocacy officer can provide confidential and supportive advice to understand policies and prepare submissions.