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 and compelling circumstances are generally those beyond your control and which have an impact upon your course progress or wellbeing. Compassionate or compelling circumstances in 2021 may include some circumstances directly related to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These could include, but are not limited to:

  • Serious illness or injury where you were unable to attend classes in person or online
  • Bereavement of close family members such as parents or grandparents
  • Difficult living conditions which have impacted on your capacity to successfully complete a full study load
  • Poor internet connection which means you cannot effectively engage in online study
  • Unexpected family situations which have been caused by the COVID-19 pandemic

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 in receipt of supporting documentation.

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.

If compelling and compassionate circumstances aren’t applicable, students may apply to take Leave of Absence however there are visa implications that student visa holders should note.

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) who has been involved in your assessment and/or treatment. If you have been seeing a CAPS counsellor in an ongoing way about issues affecting your study, you can talk to your counsellor about completing a Health Professional Report (HPR) to support an application under compassionate and compelling circumstances.
  • a police statement
  • a copy of a death certificate or death notice for close family member
  • A Statutory Declaration (for onshore students who are unable to obtain independent supporting documentation)
  • A Student Declaration (for offshore students who are unable to obtain independent supporting documentation)

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.