Legal rights and protections

Australia has many protections in place for the rights of international students throughout their study.

Australia has laws and services to make sure you receive a high-quality education and are treated fairly when you buy goods and services.

Protecting students

As an international student, you are protected by Australian law. Every higher education provider in the country must be registered in order to be able to offer and deliver accredited courses and programs. Providers must also pass regular formal quality assurance audits.

Every course offered to international students is accredited by the Australian Government through the CRICOS register, to ensure a consistent standard across all Australian education providers. 

Overseas Students Ombudsman

The Overseas Students Ombudsman investigates complaints about private education and training institutions in Australia. The Ombudsman’s services are free, independent and impartial.

If you are studying at a public university, school or TAFE you should contact the Ombudsman in the state or territory in which you are studying to lodge a complaint.

You’ll find details of what the Ombudsman can investigate for you on their website. Refer to the relevant Ombudsman website for your state or territory:

Consumer protection

Australia has consumer protection laws to protect the rights of Australian consumers, including international students. The Australian Consumer Law includes a national law guaranteeing your 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 product or service 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. Visit australia.gov.au to find the relevant government agency where you are studying.

Tuition Protection Service

The Tuition Protection Service (TPS) was set up by the Australian Government to assist you in case your institution is unable to fully deliver your course.

The TPS may also assist if you did not start or have stopped your course, and are eligible for a refund of tuition fees and the institution has not paid them.

The TPS will enable you to either:

  • complete your studies in another course or with another institution, or
  • receive a refund on your unspent tuition fees.

Visit the government TPS website https://tps.gov.au/StaticContent/Get/StudentInformation

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