While you are studying
Do you need support with your studies or your enrolment at USC? Find out about our wide range of student support services and your enrolment options.
At USC, we are here to help you succeed. Study, personal and Student visa support is available to all international students.
- USC International
Once you have commenced your studies, USC International can provide assistance in the following areas:
- Student visa and conditions
- Progression at USC
- Enrolment and funding forms
- Future studies at USC
If you have any questions or concerns about your studies at USC, please feel free to contact us.
- USC Student Assistance Line - After Hours Assistance
USC has an After Hours Student Assistance Line specifically for international students. This service provides students with assistance after office hours, on weekends and during public holidays and University closure periods. If you need help after hours or have any problems at all, please phone 1800 901 054.
The assistance line can be accessed as a free call from landlines anywhere in Australia. Standard call rates apply from mobile phones.
- USC Student Wellbeing
Student Wellbeing staff are ready to help during your tertiary study. They can provide timely assistance with any problems that may be affecting your studies and provide a range of support and services for academic and personal issues.
Visit Student Wellbeing on the ground floor Building E, or contact Student Wellbeing to make an appointment to speak with their student support staff.
- English language support
There is support available to help you develop the language and academic skills necessary to succeed at USC.
- You may be eligible to attend the free eight–week English for Academic Study Module. This informal module is specifically designed for international students from a non-English speaking background with minimum entry level English skills, or students from a non-English speaking background who are Australian residents. Classes follow a set syllabus but allow for specific needs (eg paragraphing, summarising and paraphrasing).
- You can meet with an academic skills or peer adviser for an individual consultation and receive practical advice.
- You may also attend a range of free Academic Skills essentials sessions held throughout the semester. These sessions will help you in areas such as proofreading, academic writing and oral presentations.
- Disability support services
At times, you may need to make changes to your enrolment at USC. The information below gives you an overview of your options.
- Changing your start date
If you have, or plan to apply for a Student visa, you have the option to apply for a change to your start date in exceptional circumstances and before the start date shown on your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).
Your application will be re-assessed for commencement on the updated start date and, if approved, you will be provided with a new letter of offer and written agreement. The change to your enrolment will be reported to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
If you cancel your enrolment prior to commencement, your CoE will also be cancelled and the change to your enrolment status will be reported to DIBP.
You should contact your agent to discuss any intended changes to your commencement at USC.
- Suspending your studies (Taking a break)
International students (excluding Higher Degree by Research students) who require a break from their studies may be granted a Suspension of Studies for up to two consecutive compulsive study periods under the following circumstances:
- Severe medical reasons (evidenced by a registered medical practitioner)
- Exceptional compassionate circumstances beyond the student's control
If exceptional circumstances exist, you should meet with counselling staff at Student Wellbeing to discuss whether a Suspension of Studies is an appropriate course of action in your situation. Student Wellbeing can work with you to investigate alternative options which may allow you to continue your studies without requiring a break. An approved Suspension of Studies may affect your study end date, Confirmation of Enrolment and Student visa. You may also be required to leave Australia for the duration of your Suspension of Studies. All of the above should be discussed with USC International and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) prior to lodging an application and again if an application has been approved.
For further information on applying for a Suspension of Studies, contact USC International.
Higher Degree by Research students wishing to apply for Leave of Absence should contact the Office of Research.
- Extending your studies
All international students are required to complete their studies within the duration indicated on their Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). Extensions to a student's duration of study can only be granted as a result of:
- Compassionate or compelling circumstances (for example in the case of illness where a medical certificate is evidence of the student's inability to attend classes for an extended period or where the course progression rules prevent a student from completing certain units because they may have failed a prerequisite unit);
- The University implementing its intervention strategy for students who are at risk of unsatisfactory academic progress; or
- A deferment or Suspension of Studies has been granted.
You must contact Student Central as soon as you become aware of a problem which may impact on your ability to finish your studies on time. Together with Student Central, you should investigate a study plan option (eg taking courses in non-compulsory study periods), which will ensure you complete your program on time.
If you have deliberately under-enrolled without prior approval and are unable to finish your studies on time as a result, you may not receive an extension to your CoE and may not be able to complete your USC studies onshore.
If, after consultation with Student Central, you are unable to produce a study plan that allows you to finish your studies on time, you should contact USC International prior to your Student visa expiry date for information on how to apply for an extension to your CoE. Changes to your end date will also affect your Student visa and you must contact DIBP to discuss this.
- Changing your program
You can apply for a change of program once you have completed at least one semester of study in a USC award program prior to the study period in which the change of program will become effective. Changing study programs may result in changes to your study end date and a Student visa extension may be required.
If you are an undergraduate student wishing to apply for a change of program, you should discuss your intentions with Student Central.
If you are a postgraduate student wishing to apply for a change of program, you need to re-apply for the new program via USC International.
- Withdrawing from your studies
Prior to considering withdrawal from USC, you should contact Student Wellbeing and USC International to discuss your options. Often, alternative arrangements can be made which will allow you to continue your studies at USC.
Withdrawal from courses after certain dates within a study period may incur financial and/or academic penalty. You are required to check important dates on the academic calendar and refer to the refunds policy and Student Fees, Charges and Refunds Procedures at prior to submitting your withdrawal request.
To submit a withdrawal request, you need to complete the "Withdrawal from program – international student" form, which can be found under Program, enrolment and progression.
- Transferring to another provider
You must remain enrolled at USC for the first six months of your principal program of study (the main course of study being undertaken) or for the duration of your program if it is less than six months. A registered provider must not knowingly enrol a student prior to the student completing six months of their principal program of study, except in limited circumstances.
You can submit a 'Request for Transfer and Letter of Release' application, which will be assessed on a case by case basis. You will be informed of the outcome of your application within 10 working days. If your request is granted, you will be issued with a letter of release. If you wish to transfer after receiving your letter of release, you will need to also formally withdraw from USC.
Detailed instructions on how to apply for a letter of release can be found on the 'Request for Transfer and Letter of Release' form, which can be found under Requesting documentation and Academic Record (transcript).
If you are an international students on a Student visa you must maintain satisfactory course progress and complete your program within the standard duration. There may be serious consequences for your Student visa if you do not meet minimum academic requirements and make satisfactory progress.
- What is satisfactory academic progress?
All students are required to maintain satisfactory progress in each study period. If you fail a course/courses, you may be at risk of not meeting the minimum standards required for satisfactory academic progress.
It is essential that you are familiar with the University’s Academic Progress and Exclusion policy.
Students should also be familiar with the three stages of monitoring:
- MAP Stage 1 – Early Intervention
- MAP Stage 2 – Monitored Enrolment
- MAP Stage 3 – Consideration for Exclusion
- What should I do if I think I am not making satisfactory progress?
If you are having difficulties, it is important to seek help as soon as you feel your studies are being affected. There are a number of services available to assist you.
In the first instance, you should contact your lecturer, tutor or course coordinator. The qualified staff at Academic Skills and/or Student Wellbeing are also able to provide you with assistance to help ensure that you are able to make satisfactory progress.
Remember, the earlier you seek help, the easier it will be for you to make satisfactory academic progress and avoid the consequences of failing.
- What happens if I fail?
If the course you fail is a requirement for your program, you will have to successfully complete it before you can become eligible to graduate. To find out when it is possible to repeat your failed course, refer to the 'Study Plan' tab on your program page to view the usual teaching session of offer.
If the course you fail is an elective and you do not want to repeat it, you can choose a different course.
Failing a course is likely to extend the duration of your study. This may have visa implications.
In order to support student success, the University reviews the academic progress at the end of each Study Period. A student who has a GPA of 3.0 or less for the study period, or who has failed the same course for a second time, will be placed on 'monitored enrolment'. If your academic progress continues to be unsatisfactory, you may be excluded from studies at USC.
USC will not report you to DIBP unless you have been excluded and have had the opportunity to access the appeals processes.
However, even if you are not excluded or reported to DIBP, it is important to understand that this will have an impact on your study plan, as you may be required to take the failed courses again in order to complete your program. This may affect your ability to finish your program within the required time (see ‘Completing within the standard duration’) and attract additional fees.
- What happens if I am identified for monitored enrolment?
USC monitors student progress at the end of each study period and will advise students who are identified for monitored enrolment (MAP Stage 2) for the following study period because they have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or less for the study period, fail the same course for a second time or make a successful appeal against exclusion.
Students on monitored enrolment will receive communication from Student Central and will be expected to develop an Academic Improvement Plan to assist with their academic achievement. They are also strongly encouraged to seek support and assistance from Academic Skills and/or Student Wellbeing services.
At the end of the period of monitored enrolment, academic performance is re-assessed. If the student has met satisfactory academic performance requirements, the monitored enrolment period ends. If there is not sufficient improvement in their results, they may be excluded from studies at USC.
- What happens if I am excluded?
If you are excluded from studies at USC based on unsatisfactory academic performance, you will have 20 days in which to appeal this decision. Your exclusion notification will contain details on how you can lodge an appeal.
If your appeal is successful, you will be able to continue your studies at USC. It is strongly recommended that you work with the Student Counsellors in this case to ensure you are able to make satisfactory academic progress in your future studies. If your appeal is unsuccessful, you will be excluded from continuing your studies at USC. You will receive a ‘Notice of Intention to Report’ letter advising you of a last opportunity to appeal against USC’s decision to report you to DIBP. You will have 20 days in which to lodge this appeal.
Once you have been reported to DIBP, the validity of your Student visa may be affected. You must report to a DIBP office within 28 days of receiving advice that you have been reported.
- Completing within the standard course duration
It is another condition of your Student visa that you complete your program within the standard CRICOS registered duration. This means that you must finish your program by the end date listed on your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). A full-time enrolment of four courses per semester/trimester will allow you to complete your program at USC within the standard duration. (If you have received academic credit this may allow for a different enrolment pattern).
If you fail a course/courses, you are at risk of not being able to complete your program within the standard duration, unless you are able to take this course again (or an alternative course) in a future study period.
- Can I change my study load if I am not copying with full time studies?
As a condition of your Student visa, you are required to complete your program within the standard duration, or by the end date listed on your CoE.
If you enrol in less than the courses listed on your study plan in any semester or trimester, you must make up this course in a non-compulsory study period (eg Summer Session).
However, in certain limited circumstances you may be able to reduce your study load. You must discuss this with Student Wellbeing, Student Central and USC International to ensure that this is an option for you. A change to your study plan/study load may only be approved if you can demonstrate compassionate or compelling circumstances. If this is approved, you will be able to apply for an extension to your Student visa in order to complete your studies.
- What should I do to make sure I meet the conditions of my Student visa?
It is important that you are aware of any conditions attached to your Student visa. For a full explanation of the conditions, visit the DIBP website.
In order to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress and Completion within the Standard Duration conditions, you must ensure that you:
- Are aware of USC’s Academic Rules
- Are aware of your responsibilities and consequences of not making satisfactory academic progress
- Seek help as soon as possible if you are experiencing difficulties with your studies
- Make all attempts to achieve satisfactory academic progress – this should include visiting the Student Counsellors, attending Academic Skills workshops, and speaking with your tutors and teaching staff
- Are aware of your study plan and ensure you are correctly enrolled each semester/trimester
- Discuss your enrolment with Student Wellbeing, your Faculty and USC International if you fail a course/courses, to ensure that you are still able to complete your studies within the standard duration
- Discuss your situation with the Student Counsellors if you feel compassionate or compelling circumstances are affecting your ability to study successfully
- Other Student visa obligations
In addition to the above, there are other visa obligations you will need to comply with to ensure you are compliant with your Student visa. Some of these are outlined below, while a full list can be accessed via DIBP:
- You cannot study more than 25% of your overall program online or by distance education.
- You must have at least one face-to-face course in each compulsory study period (eg Semester or Trimester).
As a Student visa holder it is important to be aware of your obligations and important Student visa conditions. In addition to the requirement of maintaining satisfactory course progress (see 'Academic progress' tab), please ensure you are familiar with the below:
- Contact hours and study commitment
Each course studied normally requires three to four hours of class contact per week in the form of lectures and tutorials/laboratory work.
As a guide, students should also allow an average of six to seven hours per course per week for self-directed study, research, readings and assignments.
A standard full-time workload, for most programs, is four courses per semester/trimester.
- Contact number and local address
Your Australian address and phone number details must be recorded on the USC Student records system and must be kept current at all times.
You must notify USC, within seven days, if you change your address or phone contact details. Students in University programs should update address and contact details via USCCentral.
Failure to maintain current and accurate address and contact details with the University is a breach of Student visa condition 8533.
- Official USC communication
Written notices will be given to students by electronic communication. Official USC notifications will be sent to your USC student email address. It is your responsibility to check your student email account on a regular basis. Failure to receive a notice because of a change of address or failure to read email advice is not considered sufficient excuse for missing an obligation or deadline.
- Circumstances in which personal information may be shared
- Deferring, cancelling or suspending your enrolment
Prior to commencement
If you have, or plan to apply for a Student visa, you have the option to apply for deferral of your start date in exceptional circumstances and before the start date shown on your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE). In order for your application for deferral to be considered, you must be able to demonstrate compassionate and compelling circumstances. Your application will then be re-assessed for commencement on the deferred start date and, if approved, you will be provided with a new letter of offer and written agreement. The change to your enrolment will be reported to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
If you cancel your enrolment prior to commencement, your CoE will also be cancelled and the change to your enrolment status will be reported to DIBP.
After you commenced
There are limited circumstances where a student's studies may be deferred or temporarily suspended.
These are outlined in standard 13.2 of the National Code of Practice 2007 and include:
- compassionate or compelling circumstances, or
- misbehaviour by the student
A deferral or suspension of study may affect the validity of your Student visa.
In the event USC intends to suspend or cancel a student's enrolment, where that suspension or cancellation is not initiated by the student, USC will notify the student that they have 20 working days to access USC's internal appeals process.
If the student accesses the appeals process, the enrolment will not be suspended or cancelled until the internal appeals process is completed.
- Students with school-aged children – Obligations and options
If you are bringing children aged between five and 18 years old with you to Australia under a dependent visa, as part of the condition of this visa, they will be required to attend school full-time.
You need to be aware of schooling obligations and options for school-aged children, and understand that you will be required to pay full fees if they are enrolled in either a government or non-government school.
School-aged dependants of Student visa holders can attend any school that meets relevant requirements for domestic registration. They are not required to attend CRICOS-registered* schools because dependants are not Student visa holders.
To find a list of government schools on the Sunshine Coast go to the Education Queensland website 'Find a School' page and select 'Sunshine Coast' from the drop down list in the 'region' field.
To find a list of private and non-government schools on the Sunshine Coast go to the Education Queensland schools directory, select the 'non-state schools' tab and enter 'Sunshine Coast' in the 'search' field.
You should contact your child's school to ensure you have all the information required to meet enrolment deadlines. The school will be able to provide you with information about the process for enrolling a school student, and the fees involved. Some schools may charge fees in addition to tuition fees such as application and enrolment fees.
Some sponsored students may be exempt from paying school fees for their dependants. You should contact the education authority in the state or territory where you will be living to get information specific to your situation.
Find out more about enrolling school students via Education Queensland International.
*CRICOS is the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. All Australian education providers offering courses to people studying in Australia on Student visas are required to be registered on CRICOS.
- Student Complaints and Appeals Policy and Procedures - Appeals process
Refer to USC's Student Complaints and Appeals Policy.
Students who are dissatisfied with the outcome of USC's grievance handling procedures may ask to be referred to an independent external mediation or dispute resolution service (eg Queensland Ombudsman, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, etc.).
The availability of complaints and appeals processes does not remove your right as a USC student to take action under Australia's consumer protection laws.
- Student Fees and Charges Policy and Procedures—Refund Policy
Refer to the USC Student Fees and Charges - Governing Policy (in relation to refunds).
The Student Fees and Charges Procedures outline refunds payable in the case of both student and provider default, amounts that may or may not be repaid, and the processes for claiming refunds.
International students should read and understand USC's Student Fees and Charges Policy and Procedures before entering into a written agreement by accepting the unconditional offer.
- Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Framework and Fact Sheet
- Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)
For information about your Student visa conditions visit the DIBP website.
All international students studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast should ensure that they read and understand the University's rules, policies, procedures and guidelines including:
- Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources - Governing Policy
- Admissions, Enrolments and Graduation - Academic Policy
- Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs – Academic Policy
- Anti-Discrimination and Freedom from Harassment - Governing Policy
- Electronic Mail - Managerial Policy
- Inclusive and Non-discriminatory Language - Managerial Policy
- Intellectual Property - Governing Policy
- Land, Traffic and Parking Rules
- Monitoring Academic Progress and Exclusion - Academic Policy
- Program Accreditation and Course Approval - Governing Policy
- Student Academic Integrity – Governing Policy
- Student Academic Misconduct – Procedures
- Student Complaints and Appeals - Governing Policy
- Student Complaints and Appeals - Procedures
- Student Conduct and Discipline - Governing Policy
- Students with a Disability - Managerial Policy
- Student Evaluation of Teaching and Courses (SETAC) - Academic Policy
- Student Fees and Charges - Governing Policy
- Student Fees, Charges and Refunds - Procedures
- Transfer of Student visa students between registered providers - Managerial Policy
- Transfer of Student visa students between registered providers - Procedures