Coronavirus (COVID-19): student advice and support

Advice and support for students affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

The University of Melbourne continues to strongly support the student community during the current outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 and associated travel restrictions. We care deeply about our students' health and wellbeing.

If you are affected, please monitor your student email for regular updates from the University. For information about accessing student email overseas, see the student email FAQ.

Online information session

Friday 28 February 2020, 12pm CST
Submit your questions for Professor Richard James, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) and Joanne Ligouris, Academic Registrar and Executive Director, Students and Scholarly Services by 8pm CST on Wednesday 26 February 2020.

Submit a question

Course-specific advice

You can now access course-specific information by clicking on the 'find information for your course' button below. This information is currently available in PDF format only.

The table in the document below contains tailored information for each course about:

  • Whether or not there is an option for you to temporarily commence your studies online, due to an inability to travel to campus in time for your course commencement date
  • The maximum duration for which you can undertake your studies online
  • If there is not an option to commence your studies online, whether or not there will be a catch-up option available once you arrive on campus
  • The latest date by which you would need to arrive on campus following your published course commencement date in order to undertake the catch-up option.

Please read the document carefully and follow instructions in the 'Recommended student actions to now take' column.

Please note this advice is course-specific and you should not advise friends to do the same as you, but rather to check advice in the document for their own course. Please do not print, forward or circulate this document, as information may change as updates become available. Instead, share the link to this page.

Find information for your course
(PDF 298.1 KB) Last updated: 25 February 2020 at 10:30am

Financial support for affected students

As an integral part of our scholarly community, and in recognition of the financial impact experienced by students affected by COVID-19 and associate travel restrictions, the University of Melbourne is offering a grants to support students to commence or return to study.

These support grants are intended to help students with unanticipated expenses incurred as a result of the travel restrictions related to COVID-19 and to help students transition to or return to study at the University of Melbourne. Eligible expenses include accommodation costs, fees associated with unrecoverable flight changes, additional costs associated with the 14-day self isolation period, upgrading technology to facilitate flexible learning and other associated financial impacts.

The total amount payable to each student will be determined, based on their individual level of impact and actual costs incurred. Support grants will be up to $7,500 per student.

In addition to these support grants, as part of the student support package the University is providing all affected students with wellbeing and course planning support. New students will have access to orientation and academic transition materials along with a dedicated mentor to support personal study and networking. Returning and final year students will also have access to career preparation materials.

To be eligible for a grant a student will have been scheduled to commence or resume study on campus at the University of Melbourne in Summer term or Semester 1 2020.

The University will contact each affected student with further information about how to apply for a support grant and access individualised support and care.

  • When is the online information session and how do I sign up?

    The video online information session will be available at the top of this page at 12pm, CST on Friday 28 February. If you have a question for Ms Ligouris and Professor Richard James ahead of time, please submit it through the webform by 8pm CST on Wednesday 26 February.

  • Will the University contact me about the support grants?

    Yes, the University will contact each affected student with further information about how to apply for a support grant and access individualised support and care.

  • How much money am I likely to receive?

    The total amount payable to each student will be determined based on their individual level of impact and actual costs incurred. Support grants will be up to $7,500 per student.

    These support grants are intended to help students with unanticipated expenses incurred as a result of the travel restrictions related to COVID-19 and to help students transition to or return to study at the University of Melbourne. Eligible expenses include accommodation costs, fees associated with unrecoverable flight changes, additional costs associated with the 14-day self isolation period, upgrading technology to facilitate flexible learning and other associated financial impacts.

Frequently asked questions

  • Travel to Melbourne
    I am currently unable to travel to Australia for my studies. What should I do?

    We understand that the travel restrictions are having a significant effect on some students, and we are contacting those affected with advice and support.

    We are working with course coordinators to publish course-specific information, covering whether online or catch-up arrangements can be made for affected students.

    If you are affected by the travel restrictions associated with COVID-19, you are encouraged to continue with your enrolment and plans to return to study in Semester 1.

    Where possible, graduate research students are encouraged to continue their research on a 'Study Away' basis. This may include catching up on the latest literature in your field and starting the writing process for the research you have done to date.

    We are continuing to closely monitor the situation and if the restrictions change, we will be in contact with affected students to make additional arrangements and options for support. If you are affected please keep an eye out on your student email for any updates from the University.


    Will subject materials be accessible online to me in mainland China?

    We have tested the performance of Canvas (the Learning Management System) and the results indicate that all materials can be accessed in mainland China, including recorded lectures and tutorials, video content, quizzes and chat features.


    Should I travel to Australia from China via a third country?

    The University is not in a position to provide advice on this matter. You should check the advice provided by the Australian Government on the Department of Home Affairs website

  • Student visas
    How will the travel bans impact my visa?

    The Department of Home Affairs has provided advice about student-visa obligations for students who are already studying (ie continuing and re-enrolling students with a ‘STUDYING’ visa status):

    • Compassionate/compelling leave can be granted for cases where, due to the coronavirus travel restrictions,  students cannot return to Australia in time to continue their studies (or would normally be expected to leave Australia).
    • If you are affected by  travel restrictions associated with COVID-19 and cannot resume your studies in Semester 1, 2020, you can apply for a Leave of Absence (returning undergraduate and graduate coursework students) or Study Away (graduate research students only).
    • If you request leave for first half year 2020 due to travel restrictions, once your Leave of Absence is approved, your CoE and student visa will not be cancelled .

    This advice is based on an announcement from the Australian government about Students affected by COVID-19 restrictions on travel, which covers information for students who are commencing and already studying.


    I have applied for a student visa – will my visa still be processed?

    The Australian Government is continuing to process student visa applications as usual. For up-to-date information regarding this visa, please refer to the Department of Home Affairs student visa page.


    I want to apply for a visa to study in Australia

    Students can apply online by visiting the Department of Home Affairs student visa page.

    If you are a new student, you are encouraged to:

    • Check any visa exit requirements
    • Check all available travel advice
    • Ensure you can attend relevant health and English language testing, as these may be required as part of the visa assessment.

    I am in Australia and my student visa is expiring. Can I get an extension?

    Existing student visas cannot be extended. If you plan to continue studying, there are a number of visa pathways open for student visa holders to remain in Australia provided the you meet all necessary visa requirements. These options include applying for new student visa or a visitor visa. For more information visit the international student visa support page or the Department of Home Affairs student visa page.

    If you need further support, the University can provide advice on student visas only. If you are no longer studying but would like information on other visa types and options, contact the Department of Home Affairs or a registered migration agent for advice.


    Will studying online this semester impact my current or future student visa?

    Student visa holders can study up to one quarter (or equivalent) of their course online, according to the Australian Government National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students. Commencing Semester 1 with online content provided by the University will not impact your student visa.

  • Fees
    I am currently delayed and am not sure I can arrive in time for the start of classes. I have a tuition fee payment due to the University, and I haven’t yet paid. What should I do?

    The University has extended the due date for all 2020 invoices payable by 14 February for students affected by travel restrictions. The due date for these invoices is now 13 March. The University will be contacting those students directly affected with more information. You do not need to apply for an extension and will not incur any late fees or payment extensions fees.


    I am currently delayed and am not sure I can arrive in time for the start of classes.  I’ve already paid my deposit. What should I do?

    Your deposit will be credited to your future tuition fees. If you do attend the upcoming semester (including commencing online remotely or catching up when you arrive), your deposit will be reflected in the balance due on your fee statement after you have selected your subjects.

    If you do not attend the upcoming semester, you will need to withdraw from those subjects. The University acknowledges some students will need to withdraw after the census date as travel restrictions are still uncertain. The University will facilitate a credit against your future enrolment or a refund, whether you withdraw before or after the census date. Affected students will be supported in this process.


    I am currently delayed and am not sure I can arrive in time for the start of classes. I’ve already paid my full tuition for the upcoming semester. What should I do?

    If you do attend the upcoming semester (including commencing online remotely or catching up when you are arrive), no further actions regarding your fees are required.

    If you are not able to attend the upcoming semester, you will need to withdraw from those subjects. The University acknowledges some students will need to withdraw after the census date as travel restrictions are still uncertain. The University will facilitate a credit against your future enrolments or a credit, whether you withdraw before or after the census date.  Affected students will be supported in this process.


    I am unable to access banking facilities due to restrictions in mainland China so I may be late in paying my fees, will there be a penalty?

    Late fees will not be applied to students affected by COVID-19 or associated travel restrictions.


    I’ve paid my fees for a summer subject but cannot attend, will I get a refund?

    If you withdraw before the subject’s census date the fee will be cancelled and the payment made for this subject will be a credit on your student fee account.  The credit will be applied to other subject fees or you may apply for a refund.


    I have decided to withdraw from semester one subject(s), will I incur any fees?

    If you decide that due to extended travel restrictions or other circumstances (e.g. lack of availability of flights) you would like to withdraw from one or more of your subject(s), you can do so without incurring fees. In these circumstances, the subject will not appear on your academic transcript.

  • Accommodation
    What do I do if I’ve already booked accommodation?

    Please contact your accommodation provider as soon as possible to discuss options related to your booking. You will need to contact them directly if you wish to change or cancel your booking.

    If you have booked with University Accommodation

    Please use the details below to contact your accommodation provider:

    If you have booked a private rental

    Please contact your accommodation provider or real estate agent to discuss your situation and tell them when you may arrive in Melbourne. They can advise on private rental arrangements when you are still are overseas.

    For further information and advice regarding your tenancy agreement, including changing or cancelling a lease, visit the Consumer Affairs Victoria's page for international students.

    Need further support?

    You can contact the University of Melbourne housing team through the following methods:

  • Coping with stress, anxiety or distress

    In situations that are uncertain and evolving such as this, you may experience stress, anxiety, or sadness among other emotional reactions. Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) have developed a tipsheet on how to manage feelings of stress or distress about the COVID-19. You can also explore other helpful resources on looking after your mental health and wellbeing during this challenging time.

  • Exchange and study abroad
    I am a University of Melbourne student about to undertake Study Abroad / Exchange to mainland China and I’m not sure it will go ahead. What should I do?

    Our staff in Global Mobility are in the process of contacting all students scheduled to undertake study abroad or an exchange to mainland China in Semester 1, 2020. This includes liaison with our university partners. If you need to contact this team directly, please write to: global-mobility@unimelb.edu.au

Need further support?

If you require further assistance please submit an enquiry to Stop 1 for advice.