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While you are studying

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Throughout your studies, Student Central can assist you with your academic and administrative needs.

At USC, we are here to help you succeed. Study and personal support is available to all international students.

USC Student Central

Student Central is here to support students through all academic and administrative aspects of their engagement with USC. This includes enrolment and program advice, student finance, scholarships, student leadership opportunities, academic skills support, progression, exams and career guidance.

If you study at USC SouthBankUSC Gympie or USC Fraser Coast you can also contact Student Central on your campus for support and advice.

Contact Student Central to start accessing USC's services.

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.

USC International

Once you have commenced your studies, USC International can provide assistance in the following areas:

  • Student visa and conditions
  • OSHC
  • 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.

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 four–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 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

Support services are available if you have a disability, health or medical condition that affects your access whilst on campus. Contact the Disability Adviser through Student Wellbeing to discuss your support needs.

USC Student Guild

The USC Student Guild is here to represent you during your time at Uni. Their aim is to support you and make your time as a USC student the best it can be. The USC Student Guild is an organisation run by students for students and offers all students the chance to become involved.

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 who require a break from their studies may be granted a Suspension of Studies for up to two 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 Student Central.

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.

Undergraduate

If you are an undergraduate student wishing to apply for a change of program, you should discuss your intentions with Student Central.

Postgraduate

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).

Note, this information is for coursework students only. Students enrolled in a Higher Degree by Research should refer to HDR candidature.

As a USC student, the University monitors your academic performance to ensure you are moving toward successful completion of your program requirements.

If you are an international student 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 Monitoring Academic Progress and Exclusion - Academic Policy and Procedures

Satisfactory academic progress means a student is progressing through their study such that they have maintained a Cumulative GPA above 3.0; they have not failed the same course three or more times; and they have not failed or received a withdrawn final notation for the same workplace integrated learning (WIL) placement course two or more times.

Unsatisfactory Academic progress means a student:

1. has a Grade Point Average of 3.0 or less over two consecutive Study Periods; and/or

2. the student has failed the same course three or more times (other than a workplace integrated learning (WIL) placement course); and/or

3. the student has failed or received a withdrawn final notation for the same workplace integrated learning (WIL) placement course two or more times.

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

For more information about these stages of monitoring and the support options available to you, please visit the Academic progress page.

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 Conformation of Enrolment (CoE) and visa implications if you are no longer able to complete your studies by the end date listed on your CoE.

In order to support student success, the University reviews the academic progress at the end of each Study Period. A student making unsatisfactory progress 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 University's complaints and appeals processes as set out in the Student Grievance Resolution - Governing Policy.

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) using the criteria set out in the Monitoring Academic Progress and Exclusion –  Procedures. This will generally be if you have a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or less, fail the same course for a second time or have a failed a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) placement course.

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 your performance does not improve during a period of monitored enrolment, or if you meet other MAP Stage 3 criteria relating to your unsatisfactory progress, you may be considered for exclusion from the University.

You have the right to ‘show cause’ against exclusion, to make a case why you should not be excluded.

As part of the show cause process, you will receive a ‘Notice of Intention to Report’ advising you that USC will need to report your unsatisfactory progress to DIBP and the validity of your Student visa may be affected. You will also be advised that before the University reports you, that you have 20 business days in which to access the University’s ‘complaints and appeals process’. In this case, responding to the show cause is considered to be equivalent to seeking a review of the decision to exclude you, as per Stage 2 of the Student Grievance Resolution - Governing Policy. During the twenty days, and if you submit a response to Show Cause until you are advised of the outcome, your enrolment at USC will not be affected.

Once you have been reported to DIBP, 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). Generally, 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.

If you fail a course, it is important that you discuss your study plan with Student Central.

Can I change my study load if I am not coping 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 Central and Student Wellbeing (if applicable) 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 policies and procedures and the requirements of your program
  • 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
Privacy notice

The University of the Sunshine Coast collects, stores and uses personal information only for the purposes of administering student and prospective student admissions, enrolment and education. The information collected is confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties without your consent, except to meet government, legal or other regulatory authority requirements. Consult the University's Information Management Framework - Governing Policy.

Information is also collected in order to meet our obligations under the ESOS Act and the National Code of Practice 2017. This ensures student compliance with the conditions of their visas and obligations under Australian immigration laws.

This information can be provided, without your consent, in certain circumstances authorised or required by law, to the Australian Government and designated authorities approved by the Government.

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 2017 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 Grievance Resolution - Governing Policy and associated procedures

Refer to USC's Student Grievance Resolution - Governing Policy and associated procedures.

Students who are dissatisfied with the outcome of USC's internal grievance handling procedures have the option to refer their concerns to the relevant external agencies (eg Queensland Ombudsman, Overseas Students Ombudsman etc.).

The availability of complaints and appeals processes does not remove your right to take action under Australia's consumer protection laws.

Student Fees and Charges - Governing Policy and Student Fees, Charges and Refunds - Procedures

The Student Fees, Charges and Refunds - 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 - Governing Policy and Procedures before entering into a written agreement by accepting the unconditional offer.

Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Framework and Fact Sheet

The ESOS Act and National Code of Practice 2017 ensure international students in Australia get the education they desire.

The ESOS Framework fact sheet provides an overview of important ESOS-related information you need to be aware of while studying in Australia.

Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)

For information about your Student visa conditions visit the DIBP website.

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