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Protection for Students

Protection for International
Students

PLEASE BE SURE TO READ THE FOLLOW*

Introduction

From time to time, an education institution may
close suddenly. This could be due to a natural disaster (such as a fire) or
because of financial difficulties. If this happens, the consumer protection provisions
of the ESOS Act are there to support the student.
Under the ESOS Act, the provider has the primary
obligation to provide a student with a refund; if a course does not start when
agreed, or ceases to be provided after it has commenced.
A refund may also be payable if a student withdraws
from a course under the provider’s own refund policy.
As an alternative to a refund the provider can
place a student in an alternative course, at no additional cost to the student,
if the student agrees to this.

The Tuition
Protection Service
The Tuition Protection Service (TPS) is an
initiative of the Australian Government to assist international students whose
education providers are unable to fully deliver their course of study. The TPS
ensures that international students are able to either:

Complete their studies in another course or
with another education provider or

Receive a refund of their unspent tuition
fees.

 The Tuition Protection Service is a mechanism
to place students when a provider fails to meet its obligations to provide the
program (called a provider default).
Where there is a provider default, the provider
must either refund affected students the unexpended portion of their prepaid
tuition fees, or to offer an alternative place which is accepted in writing by
the student.
The TPS gives students control and responsibility
within the placement process by allowing students to make a choice from
available alternative placement options. 
For example, if a College closes, and the provider
is unable to provide the students with a refund or an alternative course,
students will be offered a place in the same or a similar course with other
Colleges in the same area. There will be no extra cost to the students and they
will be able to complete their studies.
Under the Tuition Protection Service (TPS)
framework, all providers have a statutory obligation to report to the TPS
Director and the Secretary about provider and student defaults (when a student
leaves the institution).
The ESOS legislation details a limit of 50%
in the amount of prepaid tuition fees a provider can demand from a
student before they commence their course (unless the course is
24 weeks or less when they can require 100% of the fees to be paid). If
they wish, students can choose to pay any amount of their course fees in
advance.
ESOS also requires providers not administered by a
state authority or eligible to receive recurrent Commonwealth funding (i.e.
Private Providers) to keep any initial prepaid tuition fees in a designated
account before the student commences the course.

What does an Agent can do if a closure occurs?

If an institution closes, the Tuition Protection
Service and Australian Government will work to ensure that all students
are placed in a suitable alternative course.
If students affected by the closure approach you, Agent
should refer the students to the Tuition
Protection Service. 

If the student is affected by the closure of their
course/education provider and the student needs to apply for a new student visa
in order to continue their studies, they may be eligible for exemption from
paying the student visa application fee. If the student lives with a guardian
who is on a Student Guardian visa (subclass 580), this person may also be
eligible for the exemption.