Wednesday, 20 June 2012

OUA student - considering taking a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP)?


Just wanted to document my experience with the CSP process, in case anybody is considering going that way. Not complaining, I just wish I'd known all this before I started!

Firstly, there is a bunch of paperwork, and waiting for things to be sent between OUA & Curtin. There was some good information provided in emails, but there was also a lot of waiting and emails and phone calls to both OUA and Curtin to find out exactly where things were at. All this happened very close to the close-of-enrolment date for SP2 so it was a bit stressful. It turned out that the OUA close of enrolment doesn't apply once you're a CSP, you have another week or 2 after that to enrol. At least, that's how it was for SP2, I'm still not sure if that applies all the time or not.

After I did all that, I found that the discount is only about 10-11% less than if I paid directly through OUA, which is $89 for most of the Curtin units I'm doing. I can still enrol in units via the OUA website like before, but I can't pay straight away - now I have to wait for OUA to tell Curtin, and for Curtin to send me an invoice, or for me to log in to Oasis and generate my own invoice. Not difficult, just takes time.

Yesterday I received an email saying that because I'm CSP, I now have to pay a Student Services and Amenities fee for the 1st half of the year, which is $33. If I WASN'T CSP and was just an OUA student, I wouldn't need to pay this. I've done 1 unit in each of SP1 and SP2 this year, but the calculator doesn't ask that, it's just for a half year. So I presume that if I only took 1 unit in half of a year, it would still be $33. I don't really care about the $33, it's just that it's another email, more logging into Oasis and generating an invoice and making another payment.

Additionally, because half my units were not done under CSP, and the latest one is, I now for some reason have 3 different Study Plans when I log into Oasis/eStudent/My Results. I used to log in here at the end of every SP, once the results were in, and print out an updated transcript just so I had a copy. Now I can't get a full transcript on 1 page. Not a deal-breaker either, just annoying!

Assuming I continue to do 1 unit per SP, I'm making a grand saving of about $72 per SP by having the CSP. However, when I factor in my hourly work charge-out rate, and the total inconvenience of not being able to enrol & pay in 5 minutes and then just forgetting about it all, and having to stuff around with invoices and paying by internet banking, compared to the ease of paying directly through the OUA interface like I used to, and not being able to get my transcript the way I used to... well, if I'm honest, I wish I'd kept things the way they were.

That's not to say it isn't worth doing if the $72 means a lot to you, or if you're doing more than 1 unit per SP, or whatever. I just know that if I'd known upfront that it meant $72 per SP and a lot more fiddling around, I probably wouldn't have done it.

**Update August 6, 2012**
I've now also found out that if I decide to take more than 2 SPs off, like I did last year while dealing with a whole bunch of personal stuff, that I have to APPLY to do that.  With OUA I could just not enrol and there wasn't any issue. That's pretty much the decider that's tipped me over the edge - I'm now enquiring as to how I can get out of this whole CSP business and simply go back to how I used to do it, purely via OUA.  Far less paperwork, less hassles and much greater flexibility.
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