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Tuition protection in Australia

If your private higher education provider is unable to finish delivering your unit or course, they must notify you and help you to find another suitable unit or course, or access a refund of your up front payment(s) and/or re-credit of your Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan(s). This means you won’t incur a HELP debt for units you were not able to complete.

Tuition Protection Service

The Tuition Protection Service (TPS) helps Australia’s domestic and international students who have concerns about how their private higher education provider is handling their case following closure of an institution or a course. 

If a private higher education provider fails to begin, or stops delivering, a unit or course to their domestic or international students (the provider “defaults”), the provider is obliged to assist students to receive a refund for their up-front payments or a re-credit of their HELP loans for their affected study, transfer them to a different unit or course, or transfer them to a different provider to continue their studies. 

If the defaulting provider does not help, the TPS will step in to assist students affected by the provider default.

Domestic students

In January 2020, TPS coverage expanded to assist domestic students enrolled at private higher education providers, whether they pay up front or they access HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP to pay for their studies.

This means that in case of a private higher education provider defaulting (for example your provider closing while you are still studying or cancelling a unit mid-delivery), you will either receive a re credit of your HELP loan(s) for the affected units, be reimbursed for the up-front payments of tuition costs you made for the units you were unable to complete, or you will be assisted to move to a replacement unit or course with another provider. 

International students

For overseas students studying in Australia on a student visa, if your provider closes or is otherwise unable to continue to deliver your course, they must arrange for a refund of unspent tuition fees for the units you had started but not yet completed, or for a transfer into an alternate course so you can continue your studies. This may affect your student visa so you must still ensure that your visa is valid for the duration of your studies.

More information about the TPS

The TPS was initially established by amendments to the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) in 2012. 

For more information on how the scheme works, visit the TPS website.

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