Education provider default

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We have special arrangements in place to help you if you are affected by an education provider default. This occurs when a registered provider in Australia has closed or is not able to deliver your course because of a sanction imposed on them (not just if your provider does not run your course due to low enrolments).

We understand you might be concerned about how this affects your student visa as you must maintain course enrolment as a condition of your visa.

We recognise this situation is out of your control and have arrangements in place to give you the opportunity to study with a different education provider.

If you would like information about your right to a refund of your course fees or placement in an alternative course, you should refer to the Tuition Protection Service (TPS) website.

Students studying at the time of provider default

If you are affected by an education provider default while you are studying, your education provider should offer you a place in an alternate course that is acceptable to you at no additional expense, or pay you a refund of any unspent pre-paid tuition fees you have paid to them. We encourage you to work with your education provider to ensure you find a suitable alternative enrolment.

You should obtain a letter of offer or a confirmation of enrolment (CoE) for alternative studies within three months from the date the course was deregistered, cancelled or your provider closed. If your education provider fails to place you in an alternative course or give you a refund of any unspent pre-paid tuition fees, you may be assisted by the TPS.

If you hold a Student visa (subclass 500), you must enrol in a course that is at the same or higher Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level or apply for a new Student visa (subclass 500). If you are changing from an AQF level 10 course (doctoral degree) to an AQF level 9 course (masters degree), you will not need to apply for a new visa. If you hold a Student visa (subclass 570-575), you will need to enrol in a course in the same sector or apply for a new Student visa (subclass 500).

You can travel outside Australia while waiting to be placed with a new provider as long as you return while your visa is valid.

If you have obtained enrolment in an alternative course, you will need to check the expiry date of your visa as it was granted based on the information supplied in your original application. Your visa expiry date is listed on your visa grant notice or you can use Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO).

If your new course will finish after the expiry date of your current visa, you will need to apply for a new Student visa (subclass 500) before your current visa expires. You may be eligible for a Visa Application Charge (VAC) exemption.

Students not yet studying at the time of provider default

If you were not actively studying with the education provider at the time of provider default, and you have not yet commenced your studies elsewhere, you will need to secure enrolment in an alternative course.

If your visa has been granted but you have not yet travelled to Australia, you are encouraged to defer travel to Australia until you have obtained alternative enrolment. Your visa will not be considered for cancellation if your education provider has defaulted. You will be given an opportunity to secure alternative enrolment.

It is important you read information on the TPS website before seeking alternative enrolment.

Pending student visa applications at the time of provider default

If you have applied for a student visa to study a course that is affected by a provider default, you will be given an opportunity to obtain new enrolment before a decision is made on your application. You should respond promptly to requests by the visa processing officer and provide updated enrolment information as soon as possible.

Students under the age of 18

If you are under the age of 18 you must maintain welfare arrangements at all times as a condition of your student visa. If you are under the age of 18 and your education provider issued a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) to take responsibility for your welfare in Australia, you will need to seek alternative enrolment immediately and put in place alternative welfare arrangements. More information regarding students under the age of 18, is available on the Standard 5 factsheet available on the Department of Education and Training website.

Visa Application Charge exemption

If you need to apply for a new Student visa (subclass 500) due to an education provider default, you may be eligible for a VAC exemption. You must hold a student visa or your last substantive visa must have been a student visa.

You will need to indicate on your student visa application that you are affected by a provider default and attach evidence of your enrolment with the new education provider, such as your CoE.

Your family members will only be eligible for a VAC exemption if they are included in your application, not if they apply separately.

Student Guardian visa (subclass 590) applicants might also be eligible for a VAC exemption where the nominating student has been affected by provider default

Provider default day

To be eligible for a VAC exemption, you must apply for a further student visa no more than 12 months after the provider default day.

If you have commenced studying with the provider, the provider default day is the day on which the course officially ceased to be provided by the education provider.

If you have not yet commenced studying with the provider, the provider default day is the 'agreed starting day' of the course. The agreed starting day will be the commencement date on your CoE.

More information

The Department of Education and Training has a fact sheet for international students which contains important information about students' rights and responsibilities while studying in Australia.