What happens when international students want money back

It does not always go well for them

The Commonwealth Ombudsman advises the “most common issue” international students raise is providers relying on written agreements when they withdraw from courses  and want money back.  In 2018-22 such complaints accounted for 41 per cent (2432) of matters international students raise.

In 48 per cent “providers had given outcomes that did not appear substantially compliant, fair and reasonable.”

“In our investigations, we observed a lack of fairness by some providers who took a strict approach to application of refund terms in their written agreements,” the Ombudsman asserts in a new discussion paper.

The “lack of fairness became more apparent” during the pandemic, when international students needed to leave, or could not enter Australia.

The paper provides case studies and suggests ways providers can improve agreements and practise.

And if they don’t the Ombudsman has a suggestion;

“potential industry-wide improvements could involve creation of standard refund terms, or a template agreement. This could be led by international education providers or government. Government could also consider expanding regulation of international student refunds, as it does in cases of visa refusal, to a broader range of situations.