Tuition Protection Service

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Frequently asked questions regarding providers

How is the new system different from the old Tuition Assistance Scheme (TAS)?
Are providers still required to be a member of TAS?
What will happen to students currently seeking a placement or refund through the ESOS Assurance Fund?
What if a provider doesn't want to take a student that has been displaced following provider default?
What are the student default reporting requirements in the case of non-payment of fees, breach of a condition of their student visa or misbehaviour?
Where a student is due to start a course but advises their provider they will be unable to do so on the agreed start date and they wish to renegotiate their start date, does this constitute student default and does the provider have to report this?
Does student default related to non-commencement only apply to the start date of the course or is it also for non-commencement of subsequent study periods?


How is the new system different from the old Tuition Assistance Scheme (TAS)?

Providers are still obligated under ESOS to offer students an alternative place (acceptable to the student) or to provide students with a refund in the event of provider default; or a refund as per the written agreement with the student in the event of a student default.

Consistent with the recommendations of the Baird review, the Government established a new TPS as a single layer tuition protection mechanism when a provider fails to meet its obligations in the case of a default. The new TPS framework facilitates the placement of students in the first instance, and where this is not possible, provides a refund of unexpended tuition fees (i.e. tuition the student has paid for but has not been delivered by the provider). This replaced the previous combination of Tuition Assurance Schemes and the ESOS Assurance Fund.

Contributions to the TPS framework are universal but also risk based, with all currently available exemptions from the Assurance Fund arrangements removed. All providers of international education services will be required to pay an annual TPS Levy. All providers must participate and no provider can be refused tuition protection cover.

Two other key differences are that students have a greater role in the placement process and receiving providers receive a placement fee equivalent to the student's unexpended pre-paid tuition when they agree to accept a displaced student.

Are providers still required to be a member of TAS?

From 1 July 2012 providers are no longer required to be a member of a Tuition Assurance Scheme (TAS) as a condition of their CRICOS registration.

What will happen to students currently seeking a placement or refund through the ESOS Assurance Fund?

Students affected by provider defaults up to 30 June 2012 are managed under the previous TAS and Assurance Fund arrangements. Any students who have not been placed or who have not been provided with a refund after 30 June 2012 will be managed by the TPS Director but under those existing arrangements. Provider defaults occurring from 1 July 2012 onwards are managed under the new TPS arrangements.

What if a provider doesn't want to take a student that has been displaced following provider default?

Under the new TPS framework, there are no compulsory placements. A provider is under no obligation to accept a student that has sought placement with them following a default. In the event a student cannot find an alternative course placement option, the student is eligible to request a refund of unexpended pre-paid tuition fees from the TPS, and is required to comply with any relevant immigration requirements.

What are the student default reporting requirements in the case of non-payment of fees, breach of a condition of their student visa or misbehaviour?

Under the legislation, there are a number of circumstances where a student may be in default. In the situation where a student has breached their visa conditions or does not pay fees or in cases of student misbehaviour, a student default situation is triggered when the provider refuses to provide or continue providing the course to the student. However, in terms of the student default notification and reporting obligations under the ESOS Act, the student default is not confirmed until any internal or external complaints and appeals process is completed. Additionally, a provider cannot cancel a student's CoE without giving the student access to complaints and appeals processes. Once any complaints and appeals processes are complete and the student default is confirmed, the provider has:

  • 5 business days to notify the Secretary and the TPS Director (via PRISMS) of the student default
  • 14 days to report cancellation of the student's enrolment to Department of Immigration and Border Protection (via PRISMS) (i.e. a section 19 report)
  • 28 days to finalise the student default obligations as set out in the written agreement with the student and
  • a further 7 days to report the outcome of the student default (via PRISMS).

Where a student is due to start a course but contacts their provider to advise they will be unable to do so on the agreed start date and they wish to renegotiate their start date, does this constitute student default and does the provider have to report this?

No. Where a student contacts the provider to arrange a later start date and the provider agrees to the later start date there is no requirement for a provider to notify this as a student default.

Student default for non-commencement only applies to the start date of the course. The agreed starting day for a course means the day on which the course was scheduled to start, or a later day agreed between the provider and the student.