Revision Date: 25/06/2015 by Charter Australia
Under the requirements of the ESOS Act and National Code, if an international student has enrolled in a course, they are not permitted to defer commencement of their studies, or suspend their studies, except on the grounds of compassionate or compelling circumstances. If a student defers or suspends their studies on any other grounds, Charter Australia has the right not to approve the request and may report the student to DET/Department of Home Affairs via PRISMS, as not complying with visa conditions.
This policy and procedure is designed to provide a procedure for assessing, approving and recording deferment of the commencement of study, suspension of study or cancellation of study for International students.
Compassionate or compelling circumstances – are generally those beyond the control of the student and which are likely to have an impact upon the student’s course progress or wellbeing, and could include, but are not limited to:
- serious illness or injury, where a medical certificate states that the student will be unable to attend classes;
- death or illness of close family members such as parents or grandparents (where possible, a doctor’s or death certificate should be provided);
- major political upheaval or natural disaster in the international student’s home country requiring emergency travel and this has impacted, or will impact, on the student’s studies;
- a traumatic experience which could include:
- involvement in, or witnessing of a serious accident; or
- witnessing or being the victim of a serious crime,
- and this has impacted on the student (these cases should be supported by police or psychologist’s reports);
- where Charter Australia was unable to offer a pre-requisite unit;
- inability to begin studying on the course commencement date due to delay in receiving a student visa.
Student-initiated Application for Deferment or Suspension of Study or Cancellation of enrolment
International students may apply to defer their studies if they are unable to commence their course on the scheduled commencement date or, for voluntary suspension of their studies, if they are unable to attend the course for a specified period of time, under compassionate or compelling circumstances.
International students may also defer or suspend their studies with Charter Australia for other reasons; however, the student will be required to provide compelling documentary evidence to support their request.
International students are advised of the circumstances and consequences regarding deferment or suspension of study prior to enrolment and during the student orientation process. The student will be reminded that a successful application may affect their student visa and are advised to contact Department of Home Affairs regarding the effect any deferment or suspension of studies may have on their student visa.
The maximum time allowed for a deferment or voluntary suspension of study is one semester in most cases unless there are other exceptional grounds to be considered.
- Deferment of commencement of study:
- International students must advise Charter Australia in writing of their request accompanied by documentation clearly demonstrating the compassionate or compelling reasons why the deferment should be
- In the event that the request for deferment of studies demonstrates compassionate and compelling circumstances, Charter Australia will approve the application and advise the student in writing of the decision within 5 working days
- The Student Support Officer will access PRISMS to advise DET/Department of Home Affairs the period of deferment
- If the request for deferment of commencement of study does not meet the requirements for compassionate and compelling circumstances, Charter Australia will not approve the application and will advise the student in writing within 5 working days of the reason for the decision and that the student has 20 working days to appeal the decision through Charter Australia’s complaints handling
- If the student chooses to access Charter Australia’s complaints process, the student’s enrolment will be maintained until the process is completed and Charter Australia will not notify DET/Department of Home Affairs of any change to the student’s enrolment
- The request for deferment of commencement of study, any accompanying evidence and a copy of the written advice to the student of the decision will be placed on the student’s file.
- Voluntary suspension of their study:
- International students must advise Charter Australia in writing if they wish to apply for a voluntary suspension of their studies. The CEO will interview the student to discuss their request.
- In the event that the request for suspension of studies demonstrates compassionate and compelling circumstances (as outlined above) the CEO may approve the application and will advise the student in writing of the decision within 5 working days.
- The CEO will access PRISMS to advise DET/Department of Home Affairs of the period of suspension granted.
- The CEO will ensure that the following tasks are undertaken:
- the student’s financial records are adjusted to take account of the period of suspension of studies;
- an e-mail is sent to the relevant personnel advising them that the student has suspended their study so the student record can be updated,
- If the request for suspension of studies does not demonstrate compassionate and compelling circumstances (as outlined above) the CEO will not approve the request and will advise the student in writing within 5 working days of the reason for the decision and that the student has 20 working days to appeal the decision through Charter Australia’s complaints handling procedures.
- If the student chooses to access Charter Australia’s complaints process, Charter Australia will maintain the student’s enrolment until the grievance process is completed and Charter Australia will not notify DET/Department of Home Affairs of any change to the student’s enrolment status through PRISMS.
- The request for voluntary suspension of study, any accompanying evidence and a copy of the written advice to the student of the decision will be placed on the student’s file.
RTO Initiated Suspension of Study or Cancellation of Enrolment:
All international students are subject to the potential for RTO-initiated suspension of study or cancellation of enrolment for both academic and non-academic misconduct. Note that suspension due to unsatisfactory academic performance is covered by the Charter Australia Course Progress Policy and Procedures and suspension due to unsatisfactory attendance is covered by Charter Australia Attendance Policy.
International students will be made aware of the circumstances in which their studies may be suspended for misconduct prior to enrolment.
The following procedures relate to processing an RTO-initiated suspension or cancellation of enrolment:
- The CEO may consider suspending a student’s studies or canceling their enrolment for misconduct together with supporting evidence;
- The CEO will collect supporting evidence, to make their their decision.
- In the event that the CEO approves the request to suspend a student’s studies or cancel their enrolment, Charter Australia will write to the student informing them of their intention to suspend or cancel the student’s enrolment, the reasons for the decision, the intention to notify DET/Department of Home Affairs of the change in enrolment status, and advice to the student that if they wish to appeal the decision, they have 20 working days to access Charter Australia’s complaints handling procedure.
- A copy of the letter and supporting evidence along with the CEO documented decision is placed on the student’s
- If the student chooses to access Charter Australia’s complaints procedure, Charter Australia will maintain the student’s enrolment until the internal process is completed and will not notify DET/Department of Home Affairs of any change to the student’s enrolment status through PRISMS, except in extenuating circumstances relating to the welfare of the student.
Extenuating circumstances relating to the welfare of the student may include, but are not limited to, the following. The student:
- is missing;
- has medical concerns, severe depression or psychological issues which lead Charter Australia to fear for the student’s wellbeing;
- has engaged or threatens to engage in behaviour that is reasonably believed to endanger the student or others; or
- is at risk of committing a criminal
Any claim of extenuating circumstances will need to be supported by appropriate evidence.
- The National Code does not require Charter Australia to continue providing learning opportunities throughout the 20 working days allowed to appeal the decision and during the internal grievance process. Based on the nature of the misconduct, Charter Australia will decide, on a case by case basis, whether to allow the student to continue to attend class, or to make alternative study arrangements for the student, or to deny the student access to study opportunities. In making such a decision Charter Australia will consider whether denying the student learning opportunities throughout the 20 day appeal period and during the internal complaints process may disadvantage the student in their subsequent studies should the complaints process find in their favour.
- If the student chooses not to challenge the suspension of study or cancellation of their enrolment, or has unsuccessfully exhausted all internal appeal processes, the suspension of study or cancellation of enrolment will be formally processed and the Student Support Officer will access PRISMS to advise DET/Department of Home Affairs of the change in the student’s enrolment. Note that Charter Australia does not have to wait for the outcome of an external appeal before notifying DET/Department of Home Affairs of the change to the student’s study status.
- The CEO will ensure that the following tasks are undertaken:
- the student’s financial records are adjusted to take account of the period of suspension or cancellation of enrolment, if applicable;
- an e-mail is sent to the relevant personnel advising them that the student’s studies have been suspended or their enrolment has been cancelled so that records can be updated, the students computer access and e-mail account are suspended until the student recommences their studies or cancelled, as applicable;
- a reminder for when the student is due back is diarised, if applicable
Note: If Charter Australia notifies DET/Department of Home Affairs through PRISMS that a student’s studies have been suspended for a significant period, the student may be required to return to their home country unless special circumstances exist (for example, the student is medically unfit to travel). While Charter Australia determines the studying status of the student, it is Department of Home Affairs who decides whether the student may remain in Australia or must return home. Department of Home Affairs’s policy is that if a student’s studies are suspended for a period of 28 days or longer, the student must return home (unless special circumstances exist).
Extension of Duration of Studies
Some students who have been suspended or deferred their studies may require an extension to the duration to complete their course if they cannot complete the course requirements as specified on the Confirmation of Enrolment as a result of:
- Compassionate or compelling circumstances
- Charter Australia implementing its intervention strategy for students who were not able to met satisfactory course progress
- An approved deferment or suspension of study has been granted under National Code Standard 13.
Where the suspension or deferment has resulted in a variation in the student’s enrolment load, which may affect the student’s expected duration of study in accordance with National Code Standard 9.2, Charter Australia is to record this variation and the reasons for it on the student file. Charter Australia will report the student via PRISMS and/or issue a new COE when the student can only account for the variation by extending his/her expected duration of study.
Except in circumstances as specified above, the expected duration of study specified in the student’s CoE must not exceed the CRICOS registered course duration.