Manual of Policies and Procedures

E/3.2 Suitability to study

Policy Owner

Director, Office of the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar

Approval Date

07/09/2022

Approval Authority

Vice-Chancellor and President

Date of Next Review

01/09/2025

3.2.1 Purpose
3.2.2 Application
3.2.3 Roles and responsibilities
3.2.4 Principles
3.2.5 At risk behaviours or behaviours of concern
3.2.6 Identifying at risk behaviour
3.2.7 Addressing suitability to study issues
3.2.8 Suitability to study determination
3.2.9 Denial of access
3.2.10 Mandatory leave
3.2.11 Misconduct procedures
3.2.12 Appeal
3.2.13 Mandatory notifications
3.2.14 Breach of conditions
3.2.15 Recordkeeping and reporting
3.2.16 Definitions
3.2.17 Delegations
Related Documents
Modification History

3.2.1 Purpose

The University is committed to supporting student wellbeing and recognises that there may be times when a student's behaviour may give rise to concerns about their suitability to engage with studies and/or to function more widely as a member of the University community. QUT aims to support the needs of students with health or disability related conditions and will make reasonable adjustments to studies, while maintaining the academic and conduct standards of the University.

The focus of this policy is on early intervention, providing coordinated support to students and staff, and providing equitable avenues for students with at risk behaviours and/or behaviours of concern to suspend studies where necessary.

Top

3.2.2 Application

This policy applies to students and prospective students while undertaking university sanctioned activities, as and when issues arise.

The Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar will determine whether this policy or another University policy or procedure applies to a specific student matter where there is any doubt.

Top

3.2.3 Roles and responsibilities

Position
Responsibility

Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar

  • makes a determination under this policy about a student's suitability to study and may impose conditions on a student's return to study or admission to a course
  • approves procedures under this policy including guidance and training for key staff

Executive Dean of Faculty, Director, Graduate Research Centre and Director, QUT College

  • nominates a case coordinator and refers the matter to them
  • refers a student to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar where there is a serious and immediate concern about a student’s suitability to study
Head of School or research team leader (or equivalent)
  • receives reports about a student’s behaviour where there is a concern about the student’s suitability to study and refers the matter to the Executive Dean, Director of QUT College or Director, Graduate Research Centre
Case coordinator (in Faculty or relevant academic area)
  • coordinates the provision of support to students where suitability to study concerns have been raised
  • keeps a record of actions taken
Chair, Student Misconduct Committee
  • refers a student subject to misconduct proceedings to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar where there is a serious concern about the student’s suitability to study
Suitability to study advisory  group
  • provides advice to case coordinator on managing a student’s suitability to study
  • provides advice on managing and supporting a student with at risk behaviour
Suitability to study panel
  • makes a recommendation to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar on a student’s suitability to study

Appeals Committee

  • determines appeals by students where mandatory leave, suspension or other conditions have been imposed by the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar under this policy

Top

3.2.4 Principles

All matters managed under this policy will consider the individual circumstances of the case.

The policy is to be applied in a supportive way and the University will:

  • respect the rights of the student, including dealing with concerns in a confidential manner
  • inform and consult where possible with the student about decisions that may affect them, including that the University is invoking this policy and use appropriate methods of communication, taking into account the individual circumstances
  • entitle students to be accompanied or represented by a support person
  • comply with the provisions of relevant legislation, including the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth), the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (Cth) and the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld).

Where a student is unable or unwilling to cooperate with management or support under this policy, it may be necessary for the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar to make a determination without input from the student.

If a student who is subject to this policy chooses to involve an external complaint resolution agency the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar will determine whether or not internal proceedings will be suspended or cease.

Top

3.2.5 At risk behaviours or behaviours of concern

A student may be considered unsuitable for study when their behaviour constitutes one or more of the following:

  • poses a risk to their own health, safety and/or wellbeing and/or that of others
  • is (or is at risk of) adversely affecting the teaching, learning and/or experience of other students
  • is (or is at risk of) adversely affecting the day-to-day activities of the University, its staff or, a partner institution
  • is of such a nature that it prevents the person from successfully completing the course, unit or research currently enrolled in or applied for; or
  • requires support beyond the services which the University can reasonably be expected to provide either directly or indirectly.

Top

3.2.6 Identifying at risk behaviour

Any person who considers that a student’s behaviour represents grounds for concern about their suitability to study must report this to the relevant Head of School or research team leader. Where there is a reasonable belief that the student is unsuitable to study (E/3.2.5), the matter will be referred to the Executive Dean, Director, QUT College or Director, Graduate Research Centre who will nominate a case coordinator and refer the matter to them for the provision of support to the student. The Executive Dean may seek advice from the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar on proceeding under this policy, or other relevant policy including Management of student misconduct (E/8.1)

The Chair, Student Misconduct Committee, may refer a matter to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar if, during consideration of an allegation of student misconduct, there is reasonable belief that the behaviour is a suitability to study matter rather than a misconduct matter.

Top

3.2.7 Addressing suitability to study issues

a) Initial response

Where there are reasonable grounds for concern about a student’s suitability to study the Executive Dean, Director, QUT College or the Director, Graduate Research Centre will nominate an appropriate case coordinator.

The case coordinator will compile all relevant materials relating to the case, including any historical attempts at supporting the student and action taken to address at risk behaviour and/or behaviour of concern.

The Case coordinator will take one or more of the following actions as appropriate to the situation:

  • make contact with the student at the earliest opportunity
  • consider the student’s perception of their alleged behaviour, and the response of the student to any steps taken by the University to manage the situation
  • seek advice from the Suitability to study advisory group
  • invite the student to present further relevant information, such as an Access Equity Plan, medical or other professional reports; and 
  • identify the risks presented by the behaviour to the student and/or wellbeing of the student and others.

b) Management and support

Where there is a risk that the student may be unsuitable to study, the case coordinator will engage with the Suitability to study advisory group and will coordinate one or more of the following:

  • no further action
  • referral/action under an appropriate alternative University policy or procedure, for example Student Code of Conduct
  • referral to appropriate additional support service - e.g. QUT Medical Service, Disability, Counselling, Welfare
  • coordination of services to be provided to the student on the advice of the Suitability to study advisory group
  • recommendation that the student apply for an appropriate entitlement - e.g. deferral and interruption of studies or a transfer to part-time study
  • a reasonable adjustment to studies
  • advice to the student about required changes to behaviour, with a review period; or
  • recommend retrospective withdrawal and possible fee remission.

Any action taken to support the student and manage behaviour will be documented and communicated by the case coordinator to the student.

A student who is considered unsuitable for study may:

  • take health related leave (leave of absence) on conditions acceptable to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar
  • withdraw from their unit or course without academic penalty; and/or
  • receive a tuition fee refund in accordance with the Student fees and charges policy (E/7.1).

Where an interruption in studies is being considered the student should seek advice about the impact on their studies taking account of the time limits remaining to complete the course and unit availability.

At any stage where the Executive Dean, Director, QUT College or Director, Graduate Research Centre considers that there are serious and immediate concerns about the student’s behaviour they must refer the matter to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar for a determination on whether the student is unsuitable to study.

Top

3.2.8 Suitability to study determination

a) Referral to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar

If there are continuing concerns that a student’s behaviour is of a nature set out in E/3.2.5 following management and support (E/3.2.7) or there are serious concerns about the behaviour, a student must be referred to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar by the Executive Dean of Faculty, Director, QUT College, Director, Graduate Research Centre or Chair, Student Misconduct Committee, who will provide a report to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar for consideration.

b) Suitability to study notice

A notice will be issued to the student inviting them to demonstrate that they are fit to continue their studies. The notice should include the grounds for concern, outline the potential consequences of an unsuitable to study determination and allow the student not fewer than 10 working days in which to respond.

c) Suitability to study panel

The Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar may convene a Suitability to study panel to consider all information available to the university, including:

  • relevant report that confirms an injury, illness, disability or health related condition
  • a written submission from the student
  • whether all reasonable adjustments have been made with regard to a student’s health or disability related condition.

The Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar will appoint a Secretary to the Suitability to study panel.

The Suitability to study panel (where appointed) will produce a report of their considerations and make a recommendation to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar on the student’s suitability to study.

d) Determination on suitability to study

The Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar will consider all relevant information available to the University including the recommendation from the Suitability to study panel (where appointed) and any submission made by the student. 

The Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar may make a determination that a student is unsuitable to study (E/3.2.5) and take one of the following actions:

  • suspend or restrict the student’s studies for a specified period
  • refuse to re-enrol a student into the same course or to admit the student into another course
  • refuse an offer of admission to a prospective student
  • place the student on mandatory leave
  • outline the circumstances under which return to study will be approved; or
  • withdraw the student from or refuse to approve the student attending placements, professional experience, field trips or other University activities.

Conditions may be attached to any action taken by the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar including procedures for returning to study, and seeking medical evidence from the student that they are fit to return to study.

The Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar will inform the student in writing of:

  • the decision
  • the reasons for the decision
  • any action to be taken and any conditions to be met in order to continue or resume studies in any course; and
  • the student’s right of appeal.   

Top

3.2.9 Denial of access

The Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar may immediately, without notice, deny access to any or all University facilities for a student, where there are reasonable grounds to believe that such action is necessary to protect the health and safety of the student concerned, other persons or research participants associated with the University, or protect or preserve any University assets. Denial of access does not automatically terminate a student’s enrolment, but is to remain in force until varied by the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar.

Top

3.2.10 Mandatory leave

A student who is considered unsuitable to study may be placed on mandatory leave for a period determined by the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar with consideration of the maximum time limits for completing a course.

Top

3.2.11 Misconduct procedures

Where proceedings have been brought against a student under the Management of student misconduct policy (E/8.1) and it appears that the student’s concerning behaviours may be better managed under the Suitability to study policy, the Chair of the Student Misconduct Committee may suspend further proceedings and refer the student to the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar.

Top

3.2.12 Appeal

University Appeals Committee determines appeals by students against decisions made by the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar in relation to suitability to study.

An appeal must be in writing and must be submitted to the secretary of the Appeals Committee within 20 working days of receiving final written notice of the decision of the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar.

Top

3.2.13 Mandatory notifications

Where required by legislation the Executive Dean will make a mandatory notification to the relevant professional regulatory agency or body, for example the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra), under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Queensland).

Top

3.2.14 Breach of conditions

Where a student, whose enrolment, re-enrolment or continuation in a course or program is subject to conditions imposed under this policy, and the student breaches a condition, the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar may, after giving the student an opportunity to make submissions, exclude the student from the course or program, or, if the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar believes that the circumstances of the person so warrant, impose alternative conditions.

Top

3.2.15 Recordkeeping and reporting

Records must be managed according to QUT’s Records governance policy (F/6.1).

Top

3.2.16 Definitions

A case coordinator for the purposes of this policy will be an academic or professional staff member nominated by the Executive Dean, Director, QUT College or Director, Graduate Research Centre.

Suitability to study includes suitability to engage with studies, research and/or to function more widely as a member of the University community.

Suitability to study advisory group means a group of QUT staff with expertise in student health, disability, welfare or support nominated by the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar on a case-by-case basis. The group provides advice to university staff on reasonable adjustment to studies and appropriate ways for the university to respond to and support students with suitability to study issues. It will not make a diagnosis or provide advice on the management of a student’s health or disability related condition.

Suitability to study panel means a panel of at least two persons with expertise in student health, disability or welfare, and with no previous involvement in the case, nominated by the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar. The panel may seek advice from the relevant faculty. The Suitability to study panel will be supported by a Secretary appointed by the Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar.

Mandatory leave means an approved leave of absence that has not been requested by the student and may include conditions that must be satisfied before the student can re-enrol in the course they were previously enrolled in or another course.

Support person means a person chosen by the student who can be a member of staff, friend, relative, representative of the Student Guild, health professional or disability support worker. This person must not be a practising lawyer.

A student may be considered unsuitable for study where they display behaviours as defined in section E/3.2.5.

Top

3.2.17 Delegations

Refer to Register of Authorities and Delegations (C165) (QUT staff access only).

Top

Related Documents

MOPP A/8.6 Disability

MOPP A/9.1 Health, safety and environment

MOPP C/5.5 Student academic concessions

MOPP D/5.3 Higher degree research candidates

MOPP E/1.2 Appeals Committee

MOPP E/2.1 QUT Student Code of Conduct

MOPP E/3.3 Suitability for professional experience

MOPP E/4.1 Student admission

MOPP E/4.3 Enrolment programs

MOPP E/4.5 Leave of absence

MOPP E/6.7 Academic progress

MOPP E/8.1 Management of student misconduct

MOPP E/9.2 Grievance resolution procedures for student related grievances

Suitability to study flowchart (QUT staff access only)

Suitability to Study Advisory Group Terms of Reference (QUT staff access only)

Disability services brochure

Studying with a disability, injury or health condition (QUT staff and student access only)

Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld)

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011

Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Queensland)

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021

National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018

Top

Modification History

Date Sections Source Details
07.09.22 All Vice-Chancellor and President Periodic review - policy revised and renamed from Fitness to study to Suitability to study
28.04.21 All Director, Governance, Legal and Performance References relating to Pro Vice-Chancellor (Graduate Research Development) changed to Director, Graduate Reserarch Centre to align with Repositioning QUT for a post-COVID world organisational change - effective 31.01.21
22.11.19 All Vice-Chancellor and President Revised policy
10.01.18 All Vice-Chancellor

New policy

Top