CRICOS registered providers must safeguard the integrity of Australia’s migration laws by supporting overseas students to complete their course within the required duration and fulfill their visa requirements for course attendance and course progress.
Overseas students must make satisfactory course progress and, where applicable, attendance as a condition of their student visa.
Based on the National Code 2018, a CRICOS registered provider must monitor overseas students’ course progress and, where applicable, attendance for each course in which the overseas student is enrolled. The registered provider must have and implement documented policies and processes to identify, notify and assist an overseas student at risk of not meeting course progress or attendance requirements where there is evidence from the overseas student’s assessment tasks, participation in tuition activities or other indicators of academic progress that the overseas student is at risk of not meeting those requirements.
The most common areas of non-compliances with Standard 8 (Overseas student visa requirements) are around:
- Identifying correctly the point at which a student goes at risk of not meeting course progress requirements
- Implementing effective assessment systems and intervention strategies to support students at risk.
Based on experience, staff training plays a pivotal role in ensuring compliance with standard 8 requirements. Poorly trained staff are more likely to commit mistakes as compared to those who are well versed with standard requirements.
It is evident that non-compliances with Standard 8, the National Code 2018, often may result in sanctions on provider registration. Implementing following strategies can definitely mitigate risks associated with poor monitoring of academic progress of international students.
- Develop a policy and procedure mapped to Overseas Student Visa requirements.
- Train all academic and student support staff on the policy and procedure ensuring they understand how to identify students at risk, support strategies that are available to help students if they are at risk of not meeting their course progress requirements and how and when to notify the Department of Education and Training about the breach.
- Educate trainers and assessors about compulsory academic progress monitoring check points.
- Mandatory reporting of students who may turn out to be at risk through mid-term course progress monitoring. This can be done through ‘Student at Risk form’ that every trainer and assessor fill in for students who are not regular in attending classes or are not submitting their work on time.
- Students at risk reporting by trainers and assessors at the end of first compulsory study period.
- Meeting with students at risk, discussing and implementing intervention strategies within first four weeks of second consecutive compulsory study period.
- Supporting students on intervention strategy throughout their second compulsory consecutive study period.
- Identifying students who fail to make any progress during the second compulsory consecutive study period.
- Reporting students to the Department of Education and Training who fail to meet academic progress requirements in the second compulsory consecutive study period
- Keeping records of student at risk forms, followup letters sent to students, intervention strategy meeting notes, agreed strategies to improve academic performance and evidence of reporting the breach.
Key success indicators
Remember that non-compliances in this area may have significant impact on provider registration. Understanding the policy and implementing correct strategies on time is the key to compliance. Look out for these positive key success indicators when implementing the policy and procedure:
- A robust policy and procedure that every academic and support staff is well versed with.
- A positive learning environment where students are aware of expectations from them in terms of academic performance.
- Trainers and assessors who are well informed about course progress requirements, visa conditions and CoE start and end dates.
- A robust student management system that is capable of flagging students who are at risk of not meeting course progress requirements.
- An internal audit regime to identify systemic and operational risks associated with Standard 8 of the National Code 2018.
Remember, well trained staff is the key to compliance.
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Monitoring overseas student course progress
This blog provides general information for registered providers and overseas students on the National Code 2018 and the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000. However, such information or assistance should not be relied on as legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. Overseas students and education providers should seek independent legal advice as appropriate.