education.vic.gov.au

Policy last updated

7 September 2022

Scope

  • Schools
  • All Department staff

Date:
January 2020

Policy

For information on camps and other activities available to schools as part of the Positive Start program refer to: Positive Start camps and experiencesExternal Link .

Policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure schools appropriately administer, and support families to access, the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) so that a family’s financial circumstances are not a barrier to student participation.

Summary

  • The department administers the CSEF to help eligible families with the costs of camps, sporting activities and excursions.
  • Schools must communicate to families the availability of the CSEF.
  • Schools must process applications for a CSEF payment by 23 June 2023. To access the 2023 CSEF form and information sheets for parents, translated into many languages, please refer to the Resources tab.
  • Schools must use the funds for the benefit of the eligible student.

Details

Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund expenditure

From 2020, the Victorian Government is investing an additional $160.9 million for the CSEF over a 4-year period.

The CSEF provides payments to assist eligible families to cover the costs of camps, sporting activities and excursions.

Payments are made directly to an eligible student’s school. Schools must use a CSEF payment only for the eligible student and not for that student’s siblings or any other student (except where the eligible student leaves the Victorian education system and there are remaining and unspent funds).

Some common examples of school-organised programs for which a CSEF payment may be used include:

  • school camps/trips
  • swimming and other school-organised sporting programs
  • outdoor education programs
  • excursions/incursions.

The CSEF payment cannot be used towards:

  • books
  • stationery
  • school uniforms
  • before/after school care
  • music lessons
  • locker hire
  • classroom and homework materials
  • graduations and formals
  • other expenses unrelated to camps, sports or excursions.

Schools

Schools are responsible for:

  • communicating to families the availability of CSEF to eligible students
  • accepting application forms from families by 23 June 2023
  • entering all applications onto the CSEF SystemExternal Link (staff login required) for processing before 23 June 2023
  • ensuring any monies received from the CSEF are used for the cost of camps, sport or excursions for the benefit of the eligible student
  • communicating to an eligible student’s parent/carer as to how the school intends to allocate the CSEF payment to help the student.

Processing applications

Schools must process applications for CSEF payments as set out in the guidance by 23 June 2023.

Multiple students can be listed in the one application form.

Before processing a new application through the CSEF SystemExternal Link , schools must sight the parent/carer’s concession card to ensure that the name and Centrelink Reference Number (CRN) in the CSEF application form matches the Centrelink concession card.

Special consideration is given to newly arrived refugee and asylum seeker families who arrive into the county in the current year. Schools are able to accept applications from newly arrived refugee and asylum seeker students who enrol in Terms 3 and 4. For these applications documentation confirming refugee/asylum seeker status, visa grant notice, ImmiCard or a welfare letter is required to be attached to the application form and a scanned copy emailed to csef@education.vic.gov.au for processing before the end of Term 4.

Communication with parents

Schools must communicate the availability of the CSEF to their school community, including in the school newsletter, and provide application forms to parents/carers.

Schools must take steps to make sure families are aware that applications for CSEF payments must be submitted by 23 June 2023.

Schools will need an agreement with parents before allocating CSEF and a credit note will stay on the family account until the family advises the school how they want the funds allocated.

The Resources tab contains the CSEF application form and promotional flyers (translated in different languages) that schools can use to communicate with families.

Expenditure and acquittal

Schools must only use CSEF payments to help the eligible student to which it is allocated (unless as otherwise set out in the Guidance Use of funds).

Schools must follow the acquittal processes when accounting for the expenditure of CSEF payments.

Record keeping

CSEF records are treated as financial records that detail the receipt and expenditure of public monies. Government schools must retain CSEF records for 7 years (as set out in the Retention and Disposal Authority for Records of Common Administrative FunctionsExternal Link , issued by the Public Records Office VictoriaExternal Link ).

Schools must securely store CSEF records during the 7 year document retention period.

For more information about security of storage refer to: Records Management — School Records.

Definitions

CSEF Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund
A payment provided by the department to schools for the purpose of paying costs of camps, sport and excursions for an eligible student.


Guidance

Guidance

Introduction

This guidance contains the following chapters:

  • How Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund is used
  • Eligibility
  • Payment amounts
  • Use of funds
  • Submitting an application
  • Processing 2023 CSEF applications
  • Application processing problems – possible follow-up action
  • Acquittal

How Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund is used

How Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund is used

The Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) provides payments for eligible students to attend activities like:

  • school camps or trips
  • swimming and school-organised sport programs
  • outdoor education programs
  • excursions and incursions.

From 2020, the Victorian Government is investing an additional $160.9 million for the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund over the next 4 years.

This funding will help ensure more than 220,000 government and non-government students from lower-income families are able to participate in camps, sports and excursions each year.

Eligibility for the CSEF

Families holding a valid means-tested concession card or temporary foster parents are eligible to apply. A special consideration category also exists. Schools can receive applications from families by 23 June 2023.

Families can list more than one student in the one application form if they are attending the same school.


    Eligibility

    Eligibility

    There are 2 criteria that must be met.

    Criterion 1 – General eligibility

    The applicant must be one of the following on the first day of Term 1 (30 January 2023) or Term 2 (24 April 2023):

    • a parent or carer who is the beneficiary of a financially means-tested card – please refer to the list of eligible cards below
    • a temporary foster carer
    • a student who is 16 years or older and holds a valid concession card (such as a Youth Allowance Health Care Card or Disability Support Pension Card).

    Applications must be submitted to the school by 23 June 2023.

    Parents who receive a carer allowance on behalf of a student, or any other benefit or allowance not income tested by Centrelink, are not eligible for the CSEF payment unless they also meet the above eligibility criterion.

    Where the parent or carer is seeking eligibility based on an eligible financially means-tested card, eligibility will be determined when the relevant concession card successfully validates with Centrelink on either the first day of Term 1 or Term 2.

    If the eligible card is in the name of the student, the fund is only granted to that student, not their siblings.

    Eligible means tested cards

    Below is a list of means tested cards that are accepted:

    • ABSTUDY – Schooling Applicant (ABA)
    • ABSTUDY – Secondary/Tertiary (ABY)
    • Age Pension (AGE)
    • Austudy Payment (AUS)
    • Bereavement Allowance (BVA)
    • Disability Support Pension (DSP)
    • Health Care Card (HCC)
    • Job Seeker (JSP)
    • Newstart Allowance (NSA)
    • Non-Agency Payment (NAP)
    • Parenting Payment (PP)
    • Partner Allowance (PTA)
    • Sickness Allowance (SKA)
    • Special Benefit (SPL)
    • Widow Allowance (WDA)
    • Widow B Pension (WID)
    • Wife Pension Age (WFA)
    • Wife Pension Disability (WFD)
    • Veterans Card (Gold)
    • Youth Allowance (YAL)

    Cards that are not financially means tested are not accepted. This includes, but is not limited to:

    • Foster (FO) – Foster Parents must provide a copy of the temporary care order letter from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
    • Child Disability (CD)
    • Family allowance (FA)
    • Ex-Carer Allowance (Child) Health Care Card
    • Carers Card (CAR)

    Criterion 2 – Be of school age and attend a Victorian school

    For the purposes of CSEF, students may be eligible for assistance if they attend a registered Victorian school.

    CSEF is not payable to students attending pre-school, kindergarten, TAFE or who are home schooled.

    Special consideration

    A special consideration category exists for:

    • families on a bridging visa, temporary protection visa, are in community detention or are asylum seeker families – a letter from Australian Red Cross or similar welfare institution, visa grant notice or ImmiCards is required as evidence
    • students in temporary out of home care arrangements, including statutory kinship care – a letter of support from the institution facilitating the arrangement (for example Mackillop Family Services) or the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing is required as evidence. Copies of court orders are not required.

    Permanent care arrangements such as permanent visas and permanent foster care do not meet the criteria for special consideration.

    Applications for special consideration can be made through the standard application form and must be submitted by 23 June 2023. Further information is available in the submitting an application chapter

    Schools are able to accept applications from newly arrived refugee and asylum seeker students who enrol in Terms 3 and 4. For these applications documentation confirming refugee/asylum seeker status, visa grant notice, ImmiCard or a welfare letter is required to be attached to the application form and a scanned copy emailed to csef@education.vic.gov.au for processing before 31 December 2023.


    Payment amounts

    Payment amounts

    Payments for 2023 are:

    • $125 per year for eligible primary school students
    • $225 per year for eligible secondary school students.

    For ungraded students, the rate is determined by the date of birth:

    • $125 per year for students born on or after 1 July 2011
    • $225 per year for students born on or before 30 June 2011.

    Payments are made directly to the school:

    • from March onwards each year where the parent/carer’s concession card is assessed as valid on the first day of Term 1 and
    • until 23 June where the parent/carer’s concession card is assessed as valid on the first day of Term 2.

    Payments are for the application year and cannot be claimed for previous years.

    Direct deposit to school

    All CSEF payments are paid directly to the school as a bulk payment. The schools bank details are stored in the accounts payable system and payment will be made accordingly. Government schools can receipt this money to the respective parent through CASES21 in accounts receivable via the CSEF0007 message.

    To view the breakdown of payments on the CSEF system home page, schools must look under recent payment batches and click on the relevant batch number. Schools can export this data to Excel.

    If your school Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) details change, schools must notify Schools Finance and Resources Branch in writing as soon as possible at csef@education.vic.gov.au


    Use of funds

    Use of funds

    Permitted uses

    The Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) provides payments for eligible students to attend activities like:

    • school camps or trips
    • swimming and school-organised sport programs
    • outdoor education programs
    • excursions and incursions.

    The CSEF payment cannot be used towards:

    • books
    • stationery
    • school uniforms
    • before or after school care
    • music lessons, or
    • formals or graduations.

    Schools will need an agreement with parents before allocating CSEF funds and a credit will stay on the family account until the family advises the school how they want the funds allocated.

    Year 7 and Prep students in government schools who are eligible for CSEF will receive financial help with the cost of school uniforms. For more information about this initiative, refer to State Schools' ReliefExternal Link .

    Unused funds

    Where an application is approved, the full CSEF payment for that year will be granted.

    If the family has already paid for some camp, sports or excursion costs, the CSEF payment cannot be used to reimburse families for those payments. However, families may:

    • carry over the unused amount to be used on eligible activities in the following year
    • create a ‘family credit’ for the costs already paid. The credit can then be used towards other school expenses. To process this type of credit the following CASES21 process must be completed to ensure the Business Activity Statement (BAS), family account and various other reports are correct:
      1. Ensure that the parent/carer has actually paid for an excursion/camp/sports activity earlier in the year.
      2. Create a family invoice in DF31006 or DF31001 using the original Fee Code to which the CSEF funds will be allocated, and for the amount to be allocated.
      3. Go to ‘Manually allocate CSEF Receipts’ and allocate the CSEF funds to the new invoice that was just created.
      4. Create a Family Credit Note — DF31021 for the same amount as in step 1, using the same Fee Code. Apart from the amount do not change any other details.
      5. This credit will stay on the family account until the family advises the school what they want this to be allocated to.

    For further CASES21 related scenarios that school administrators may encounter, refer to CSEF Help for CASES21 Family FinancesExternal Link (staff login required). This document provides step-by-step guidance to resolve or address potential issues.

    For any additional assistance or variation to this scenario log a call with the department service desk on 1800 641 943.

    Students changing schools

    The school that the student is enrolled at and attending on the 28 February census date is the school that must process and receive the CSEF payment.

    If a student transfers to another Victorian school, including where a student is transitioning to secondary school:

    • unspent CSEF amounts should be transferred to the student’s new school. A funds transfer would typically require the initiating school to create a CASES21 Family Payment and then arrange for the unspent portion to be transferred to the new school via a bank transfer or cheque payment. For more information, see the CASES21 Business Process GuideExternal Link – refer to Section 1
    • if the unspent amount is minimal, the schools may agree that the funds are not transferred as long as the new school commits to providing the student with assistance to the value of the unspent amount.

    Students completing year 12 or leaving the school system

    For students completing Year 12 or otherwise leaving the school system:

    • schools may allocate unspent funds to the student's siblings attending the same school once the student leaves school – this is the only time at which CSEF payments can be used for siblings
    • remaining CSEF funds will stay with the school and may be used to assist any students in need with school-incurred costs for camps, sports activities and excursions.

    Submitting an application

    Submitting an application

    The Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) system is open for schools to enter applications from 30 January 2023. Parents/carers wishing to apply for CSEF payments for 2023 must submit their application form to the relevant school before 23 June 2023.

    However, a parent/carer will only be required to submit an application form to the school in the following circumstances:

    • the parent/carer is applying for the CSEF payment for the first time – i.e. an application form was not lodged with the school in the previous year, or
    • circumstances have changed – for example, there has been a change in the care arrangement of the student, a change of name or CRN, or a new sibling has started at the school and the parent/carer wishes to apply for the CSEF payment for the new sibling also.

    Where a parent/carer is not required to submit a new application, schools can rollover/copy the previous year’s application on the CSEF system to the current school year.

    Schools must retain application forms for a minimum of 7 years.

    CSEF applications may be audited by the department.

    Application forms

    Schools are able to accept and process applications up until 23 June.

    If there's shared custody

    The CSEF system only allows one application per student. Parents/carers in shared custody situations (who both hold a concession card) must decide beforehand who applies for the CSEF at the school on behalf of the relevant student.

    The CSEF is for the benefit of the parent/carer who is in receipt of the CSEF.

    Schools are not required to arbitrate this decision.

    Schools can contact the department's CSEF helpdesk for advice on 1800 060 970 or at csef@education.vic.gov.au


    Processing 2023 CSEF applications

    Processing 2023 CSEF applications

    School administrators can process applications, and find further information, on the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund (CSEF) systemExternal Link (staff login required).

    School administrators must make sure the CASES21 end of year processing has been completed and the school's student enrolment system is up-to-date with the latest enrolments for 2023 before CSEF applications can be processed. This will minimise the risk of incorrect CSEF information being copied across from 2022 to 2023 and reduce the chance of overpayments or underpayments.

    Step 1 – CASES21 data task

    Government schools must ensure that CASES21 (admin) accurately reflects current student enrolment details. This means that all students currently enrolled at your school are shown as active on CASES21.

    The CSEF system will automatically schedule a download of the student data across to the CSEF system overnight.

    Government schools can schedule a download of the student data by selecting:

    1. ‘Applications’
    2. ‘Download CASES21 students’

    This will update the CSEF system overnight with the current student enrolment details.

    Step 2 – Copying applications

    A short method for processing applications is to rollover/copy the applications from the previous year (for parents/carers who received CSEF at the same school in 2022).

    To do this:

    1. Log into the CSEF systemExternal Link (login required).
    2. Select ‘Applications’ from the menu bar.
    3. Select ‘Search by applicant’.
    4. Select the year 2022.
    5. Click ‘Search’.
    6. Optionally enter the first letter of the parent/carer’s surname to refine the search if there are numerous applications.
    7. Locate the application which to be copied and click on the 'Copy' link next to the parent/carer's name. This takes schools to the ‘Add Application’ page where the copied parent/carer and student information from the year before is displayed.
    8. Check the parent/carer’s application form against the system to ensure that all details are correct for the current year. Schools can add or delete students from the application.
    9. Non-government schools only will need to add the year level of the student.
    10. Click the ‘Save application’ button. Upon clicking the save button, the CSEF system will check that all mandatory fields have been completed and the application will then be created in the current year. The application will also be automatically validated against Centrelink’s database. CRN validation typically occurs every half an hour or overnight. Once successfully saved, the application will be displayed in View mode. Typically at this point the application has been successfully copied.
    11. Click the ‘Back to search’ button to return to the search page to continue with copying other applications.
      Note: applications entered before the first eligibility date will not be validated with Centrelink until this date has been reached. Applications entered in Term 2 will be validated against the first eligibility date. If the Centrelink validation fails, the CSEF system will attempt another validation against the second eligibility date in an automatic overnight process.
    12. Once a school has completed entering their applications, the school will need to endorse the applications before payments can be made. CSEF administrators with 'school approver' access can endorse applications by clicking on the ‘Endorse’ option in the menu bar and following the steps displayed (see Step 4).

    Step 3 – Add a new application

    1. Select ‘Applications’ then ‘Add application’ from the main menu.
    2. Select the ‘Application type’. By default, the value is set to ‘Parent has CRN’ as this is the most common application type.
    3. Enter the parent/carer surname and first name. This is not case sensitive, but the spelling must be identical to the spelling on the parent’s Centrelink concession card. Then (optionally) enter a school reference number.
    4. Enter the Centrelink Reference Number (or CRN) of the parent/carer as per the application form or concession card. The CRN is mandatory for this application type.
    5. Government schools – add the student to the application by entering the student’s surname in the ‘CASES21 student selection' search box, clicking the ‘search’ button then ticking the box next to the student’s name and clicking ‘select’. Schools may add multiple students to the application by ticking each student’s name.
    6. Non-government schools – manually enter each child’s details into the student details section.
    7. Click the ‘Save application’ button. Upon clicking the save button, the application will be created and automatically validated against Centrelink’s database. Once saved, the application will be displayed in View mode.
      Note: applications entered before the first eligibility date will not be validated with Centrelink until this date has been reached. Applications entered in Term 2 will be validated against the first eligibility date. If the Centrelink validation fails, the CSEF system will attempt another validation against the second eligibility date in an automatic overnight process.
    8. Once schools have completed entering their applications, and once applications have been validated with Centrelink, schools will need to endorse the applications before payments can be made (see Step 4). CSEF administrators with 'school approver' access can endorse applications by clicking on the ‘Endorse’ option in the menu bar and following the steps displayed.

    Step 4 – Endorse CSEF applications

    By endorsing the applications, schools are indicating that their student enrolments in the CSEF System are up to date and the student was enrolled and attending the school on 28 February 2023.

    Only users with ‘school approver’ access are able to endorse applications.

    To endorse applications for processing:

    1. Select ‘Endorse’ from the main menu.
    2. To endorse all applications, click on the ‘Endorse all’ button — or, to view these applications first, click on the ‘List applications’ button. Applications that are endorsed will be paid in the next scheduled CSEF payment run (the next payment run date is displayed on the CSEF system homepage).

    Note: Applications which fail the Centrelink validation will not be available for endorsing. See Issue 1 in Application processing problems.


    Application processing problems – possible follow-up action

    Application processing problems – possible follow-up action

    Issue 1 – CRN validation failures

    Applications which have an application type of 'Parent has CRN' are automatically validated with Centrelink's database to confirm that the parent’s concession card was valid on the CSEF first eligibility date (the first day of Term 1). Applications which fail the Centrelink validation are displayed on the CSEF system homepage with a status of ‘CRN validation failed’.

    The relevant school and/or CSEF administrator will also receive an automated email identifying any CRN validation failures.

    Action required

    For Centrelink error reasons arising because the applicant's name does not match the CRN or CRN digit validation errors, the school can correct these by updating the details to reflect the details on the concession card.

    Schools must advise the parent/carer that, if they believe that they were entitled to a concession card on the first eligibility date (30 January 2023), they must arrange for a ‘Q053 confirmation letter’ to be provided from Centrelink stating that the applicant was the holder of a valid concession card on 30 January 2023. If a letter cannot be provided, schools must leave the application with a status of Centrelink validation failure until Term 2 and 3. The CSEF system will then attempt another validation against the second eligibility date (26 April) in an automatic overnight process.

    When the school receives the Q053 confirmation letter from the parent/carer, the letter can be scanned and attached to the application on the CSEF system. Under the 'Documents' section of the electronic application, click on ‘Browse’ to select the scanned document and then click ‘Upload selected file’.

    The Schools Finance and Resources Branch will then receive automatic notification of the uploaded scanned document — there is no need to also email the document to the Schools Finance & Resources Branch . However, if a school is unable to attach documents, as an alternative a school can scan and email the Q053 letter to csef@education.vic.gov.au for processing.

    Issue 2 – possible duplicate detected

    Each night, the CSEF System checks applications for the current year to detect any students that may have duplicated records across schools. This usually happens if a student leaves a school and transfers to another Victorian school. The school at which the student is enrolled and attending on Census day 28 February 2023 is the school that must process the student’s CSEF application.

    Where a duplicate is found, applications at both schools will be placed 'on hold by system' and will be displayed on the CSEF system as 'Possible duplicate detected'. When any duplicates are detected, each of the schools involved will receive a notification email to advise them of this.

    Action required

    1. Check whether the student was enrolled and attending the school on the 28 February 2023 census date.
    2. If the student was not enrolled and attending the school on this day, view the application and under the next available actions, select 'Delete application'. Overnight, the system will re-check the duplicate status and if the duplication no longer exists the system will automatically remove the ‘hold’ status on the application.
    3. If the duplication cannot be resolved at school level or is not a legitimate duplication (for example, twins attending two different schools), the CSEF coordinator in the Schools Finance & Resources Branch can resolve duplicates and if necessary, apply an action to mark the duplicates as valid. This will release both applications for further processing. In this scenario, schools must email the Schools Finance & Resources Branch at csef@education.vic.gov.au with the details.

    Issue 3 – CASES21 student data discrepancy (government schools)

    When a CASES21 student data export into the CSEF system is performed, the CSEF system will check against students in relevant schools. Where an active student can no longer be matched using their CASES21 student key, they will be marked as such. The application will be placed on hold until the issue is resolved.

    On the CSEF system homepage, any such applications will be included in the status summary under 'CASES21 student data discrepancy'. Schools can click on the link to see a list for your school.

    Action required

    1. On the CSEF system homepage, click on the CASES21 student data discrepancy link to view the details of each application which has been placed on ‘hold'.
    2. Click on the ‘view’ link to view the details of the application.
    3. Scroll down to the ‘Students’ section and then click on the ‘Fix unmatched’ button next to the child’s name.
    4. Choose the appropriate option, then click on 'Update student', then 'Proceed with changes'.
    5. If necessary, repeat step four for other children listed on the application.
    6. Click the ‘Save changes’ button.
    7. The application will have the system ‘hold’ removed.

    Acquittal

    Acquittal

    Schools are responsible for allocating the CSEF payment towards camps, sports and excursion costs against the eligible student.

    At government schools, the CASES21 system allows CSEF expenditure to be allocated against eligible students’ expenses. When a CSEF payment is deposited into the school’s high yield account, schools must run the process to receipt the CSEF payment against the family account. The family statement has a column indicating CSEF receipts. Schools can then allocate the CSEF payment to the appropriate camps, sports and excursion costs.

    For more information, see the CASES21 Business Process GuideExternal Link (Section 1).

    At Catholic schools the Catholic Education Commission of VictoriaExternal Link (CECV) can advise schools as to the appropriate accounting treatment and acquittal process.

    Independent schools may have different systems in place. It is the responsibility of the school to ensure that their systems can allocate CSEF expenditure against eligible students' expenses.


    Resources

    Resources

    Application form

    Schools must provide application forms to families wishing to apply for assistance from the CSEF:

    Information flyers

    The financial assistance flyer will help schools communicate the availability of the CSEF to parents and carers.

    Financial assistance information for parents (DOCX)External Link

    The flyer is also available in different languages:

    CSEF 2023 Centrelink error proformaExternal Link

    User access forms

    Frequently asked questions

    CSEF frequently asked questions (DOCX)External Link


    Reviewed 26 May 2020