Support for compassionate or compelling circumstances

Help is available if circumstances affect your course progress or wellbeing.

What support is available?

If you're an international student on a student visa, the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act (2000) and the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 allow for you to apply for the below support measures if you are able to demonstrate compassionate and compelling circumstances:

What circumstances are considered compassionate or compelling?

Compassionate or compelling circumstances are generally those beyond the control of the overseas student and which have an impact upon the overseas student’s course progress or wellbeing.

These could include, but are not limited to:

  • serious illness or injury where the overseas student was unable to attend classes
  • bereavement of close family members such as parents or grandparents
  • major political upheaval or natural disaster in the home country requiring emergency travel and this has impacted on the overseas student’s studies; or a traumatic experience, which could include:
    • involvement in, or witnessing of a serious accident; or
    • witnessing or being the victim of a serious crime, and this has impacted on the overseas student
  • childcare or maternity
  • military service in your home country
  • being unable to enrol in subjects because of the structure of your course.

In 2021, overseas students whose course progress or wellbeing has been impacted by COVID-19 related issues beyond their control will be considered on a case by case basis.

What circumstances are not considered compassionate or compelling?

Circumstances that are not considered compassionate or compelling are those considered to be within the control of a student, or which are to be expected in the normal course of the student's study, work, family or social life.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • relationship problems
  • travel or employment opportunities
  • An increase in hours or duties of paid or unpaid employment
  • family or customary obligations, such as weddings of a relative or friend.
  • minor medical illness or homesickness.

International student visa holders must not rely on the proceeds of paid employment in Australia to support their studies or living costs. Students who experience financial strain that results negatively on their studies should contact Financial Aid for support in the first instance.

What documentation is required?

When applying for one of the above due to compassionate or compelling circumstances, you’ll need to provide any documents which support your application. Examples of appropriate documentation include:

  • a detailed medical statement from a physician or medical specialist (a doctor’s certificate is not acceptable)
  • a detailed statement from a counsellor (for example, the University's Counselling and Psychological Services team)
  • a police statement
  • a copy of a death certificate or death notice for close family member.

Supporting documentation for compassionate or compelling circumstances must be from an independent source or authority, and clearly indicate:

  • what the special circumstances were
  • when they occurred
  • how long they lasted
  • the level of impact of the special circumstances.

Overseas medical certificates issued in a language other than English must be translated into English by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) or an overseas notary department with a common seal.