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Tuition Protection Service

Protection for International Students
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.