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Rights and obligations

The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000

The ESOS Act and related legislation protect Australia's reputation for delivering quality education services and the interests of international students in Australia on a student visa by setting out the registration requirements and ongoing high standards an education provider must meet in order to enrol international students. These include, for example, standards related to providing students with accurate information, only using education agents who behave ethically and for giving students access to independent complaints handling services.

The ESOS legislation protects the tuition fees paid by international students by placing placement and refund obligations on providers in different default situations and through the Tuition Protection Service. The ESOS legislation also helps to ensure students meet their student visa conditions for attending classes and making satisfactory progress in their studies while in Australia. For additional information on the ESOS legislative framework visit ESOS legislative framework

To assist education providers in meeting their obligations under the ESOS Act, the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research has approved a number of Legislative Instruments. These Legislative Instruments, amongst other requirements, set out specific default and refund arrangements under the ESOS Act. For additional information on the ESOS Legislative Instruments please visit ESOS Legislative Instruments

Under the TPS framework

Students

  • Should read their written agreement carefully before signing it - it is a legal contract.
  • Ensure the agreement is clear on the number of study periods in the course, how the fees are distributed throughout the course for each study period and the difference between tuition fees and other types of unprotected fees such as accommodation.
  • Should be aware of any conditions or deductions from a refund they may incur if they do not commence or complete the course (this is called a student default) or where their visa is not approved.
  • Keep a copy of all receipts for money they have paid to a provider.
  • Ensure their provider gives them a record of all study completed at each stage of their course.
  • Let their provider know as soon as any of their contact details change.
  • If an international student is referred to the TPS following a provider closure and wants to accept an offer of a place with an alternative provider, the student will have to meet any additional academic and fee requirements of the alternative provider, if higher than the original provider.

Providers

  • Are expected to meet their default obligations under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS).
  • Have to contribute annually to the TPS.
  • Have the opportunity to place students who are referred to the TPS in a suitable alternative course.
  • Are under no obligation to accept a student that has sought a placement with them following another provider's default.