Understanding the Application Process
The following information is provided in support of the Approved Authority's understanding of the concepts which underpin the application requirements. More detailed information, specific to the educational and financial assessment of an application, can be found in the QIS BGA document, Learning Places and Spaces- Explaining the QIS BGA Lens.
- Competitiveness of the funds
- Assessment of applications
- Distance education operation and facilities
- Overseas students and their impact on assessment
- New schools
- Prior commencement of building works
- Occupancy upon completion of construction
The allocation of grant funds for capital projects is not an entitlement, but is competitive amongst the applicants participating in each round. Applications are assessed on the basis of educational and financial need, using a range of indicators to determine the level of educational disadvantage.
QIS BGA is required by the Australian and State Governments to assess all applications against the relevant program guidelines. The BGA must determine the minimum viable project for the identified educational need and the maximum financial contribution that the school and its community can make towards the project. Eligible projects are then ranked in order of priority. Elements of an applicant school's circumstances, such as socio-economic disadvantage, number of learning spaces, room occupancy rates, floor areas and condition of existing facilities, as well as ongoing viability and financial capacity are some of the criteria used.
The construction and renovation of facilities to service Australian distance education students are eligible for Australian Government capital grants. State Government capital grants apply for Queensland students only. It is recognised that the funding and operation of distance education is different from a day school operation and so there is a need to differentiate the distance education program as a separate cost centre from the day school’s operation in a capital application.
When overseas students in at least one level of education provided in the school comprise more than 5% of the student enrolment, or more than 20 in that year level, QIS BGA must consider the contribution these students are making to the recurrent and capital needs of the school. If a school has been charging overseas student fees that cover the full capital and recurrent cost of education of the overseas students, so that State and Australian Government grants are not used to meet the cost of facilities for overseas students, then an application (which is solely for the use of Australian students) may be assessed in the normal manner.
Where a school’s overseas student fees have not been or are not adequate, the amount of `lost’ income to the school and the amount of additional debt that could be serviced by that `lost’ income must be considered when assessing the school’s contribution to the project.
Even if adequate fees have been charged for overseas students, the Australian Government directs the BGA to carefully scrutinise claims by an applicant school that a facility will not be used primarily by overseas students nor has the potential for overseas students to be the primary user of the facility in the future.
The BGA recognises that there are two types of buildings for which schools with overseas students could apply for capital assistance:
- A custom-built facility for the sole use of overseas students. These buildings are not eligible for capital assistance.
- Facilities which will be used by overseas students and Australian students. The Australian Government recognises that, most schools could provide the present percentage of overseas students who would use the facility. It also recognises that, in practice, it is not possible to identify the on-going overseas students’ proportion of a project in this way. Consequently, rather than trying to dissect out the fundable portion of a project, BGA policy is to ensure that the school’s contribution to the total project is such that no subsidising of overseas students is involved.
New schools will be required to be accredited in Queensland via the processes of the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board. QIS BGA is unable to provide capital funding for projects until the school and it's site have achieved accreditation.
The QIS BGA New Schools Policy provides detail for Approved Authorities of new schools when making application for capital assistance.
No funding of approved Australian Government and/or State Government projects is able to be paid if building works are commenced prior to receiving Ministerial approval. Applicants recommended for Australian and State Government grants must not commence work until after funds from both sources are approved and an Agreement issued by QIS BGA has been executed. The Approved Authority of the applicant school will be notified in writing of Ministerial approval directly from the office of the appropriate Australian and/or State Government Minister for Education and later from QIS BGA.
For both Australian and State Government funding, applicants should aim at meeting the educational facility needs of the school two years forward of the application round. School Authorities seeking capital assistance do so on the understanding that an educational facility constructed with the support of Australian and/or Queensland Government grant/s will be used for educational purposes for 20 years. Further information on determining the contingent liability associated with government grants can be found here.