Support services for studentsAdd to study guide There are many consumer protection and support services available for international students. This includes services provided directly by institutions as well as those provided by a range of state, territory and federal government departments.
Consumer ProtectionAustralian has a strong consumer protection framework to protect the rights of Australian consumers, including international students in Australia. The Australian Consumer Law includes a national law guaranteeing consumer rights when buying goods and services. You should contact the relevant government trade and consumer agency in your state or territory, if you:
Would like information about your consumer rights.
Have a problem with a consumer good or service that you have bought or are considering buying.
Would like to know how a business should behave under the law.
Would like to make a complaint about a business.
Overseas Students OmbudsmanThe Overseas Students Ombudsman (OSO) investigates complaints about problems that overseas students have with private education and training institutions in Australia. The Ombudsman’s services are free, independent and impartial. You can find out more about this service on their website: www.ombudsman.gov.au(opens in a new window). A number of OSO(opens in a new window)publications, including newsletters, can be found on the OSO website(opens in a new window).If you are studying at a public institution, such as TAFE colleges and many universities and schools, you should contact the Ombudsman in the state or territory in which you are studying to lodge a complaint. You can find details of what the Ombudsman can investigate on their website. Below is a list of the Ombudsman websites for all states and territories in Australia:
Australian Capital Territory Ombudsman - www.ombudsman.act.gov.au(opens in a new window)
New South Wales Ombudsman - www.ombo.nsw.gov.au(opens in a new window)
Northern Territory Ombudsman - www.omb-hcscc.nt.gov.au(opens in a new window)
Queensland Ombudsman - www.ombudsman.qld.gov.au(opens in a new window)
South Australian Ombudsman - www.ombudsman.sa.gov.au(opens in a new window)
Tasmanian Ombudsman - www.ombudsman.tas.gov.au(opens in a new window)
Victorian Ombudsman - www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au(opens in a new window)
Western Australian Ombudsman - www.ombudsman.wa.gov.au(opens in a new window)
Tuition Protection ServiceThe Tuition Protection Service (TPS) is an initiative of the Australian Government to assist you if your institution (referred to as 'Education Provider' under the TPS) is unable to fully deliver your course of study. The TPS may also assist you if you have withdrawn from, or not started, your course and are eligible for a refund of tuition fees and the institution has not paid them.The TPS will ensure that you are able to either:
Complete your studies in another course or with another institution, or
Receive a refund of your unspent tuition fees.
Institution support servicesStudent support forms a large part of Australia’s education system. Institutions provide specialist services to help international students adjust to life and study in Australia, and to achieve their goals. This includes student services such as:
Language and academic support.
Designated international student advisers.
On-arrival reception and orientation programs.
Childcare, health and counseling.
Prayer and worships rooms.
Banking, shopping and food outlets.
Clubs, societies, sport and fitness facilities.
Student associationsAustralia has a number of student associations representing and assisting students from Australian institutions. National associations include:
Council of International Students Australia (CISA)(opens in a new window) - national peak student representative body for international students studying at the postgraduate, undergraduate, private college, TAFE, ELICOS and foundation level.
Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS)(opens in a new window) - assisting international students in maximizing the scope and potential of their experience living and studying in Australia.
Disability supportAustralia has laws that protect individuals from discrimination in many areas of public life, including education. A person with a disability has just as much right to study as any other student. This means that institutions cannot:
Refuse admission on the basis of disability.
Accept a student with a disability on less favourable terms than other students (for example, asking for higher fees).
Deny or limit access to a student with a disability (for example, not allowing access to excursions, or having inaccessible student common rooms or lecture facilities).
ChildcareWhile many larger institutions have childcare facilities with trained staff, there are also a wide variety of private and not-for-profit childcare centres available around Australia. The Australian government provides financial assistance to help parents with childcare costs. International students who receive direct financial assistance from the government, through a government scholarship, may be eligible to receive the child care benefit. To find out if you are eligible for child care financial assistance, read more at the Australia.gov.au(opens in a new window) website.
Other support servicesSome other support services that may be useful to know while you are studying in Australia are:
Contact details - 000
Service details - Life threatening situations, such as a car crash or a fire.
Local police – non urgent matters
Contact details - Call 131 444 (everywhere except Victoria). In Victoria you need to call your local police station (consult your local Telephone Directory)
Service details - Police attendance for non-urgent matters.
Contact details - 13 11 14
Service details - Lifeline provides crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services across Australia. These can include stresses from work, family or society and physical and mental wellbeing. Lifeline offers support services by phone or through their online chat available on their website.
Contact details - 1800 551 800
Service details - If you're between 5 and 25 and you're feeling depressed, worried, sad, angry or confused about things like your studies personal relationships, Kids Helpline offers free 24 hour, 7 day telephone counseling support (anonymous if you prefer).
Poison Information Centre
Contact details - 131 126
Service details - Provides advice on the management, assessment and treatment of poisonous products including non-prescription pharmaceuticals, household and industrial chemicals, and plant and animal venom.
Sexual Assault counseling service
Contact details - Search online for 'rape crisis centre' in your home state
Service details - If you, or anyone you know, has experienced or is at risk of sexual assault, call one of the state-based sexual assault counseling services. These provide a free 24 hour, 7 day a week telephone counseling service (anonymous if you prefer). Many are connected to hospitals or government health departments to help you if the assault has left you with injuries.