International students can apply to defer or temporarily suspend their studies. However, approval is required from the program area and is only granted in limited circumstances.
Deferral typically means delaying enrolment to another term or semester. Students can only seek a maximum of two deferrals, particularly prior to their commencement of study at TAFE SA.
Suspension from a course means that a student stops studying for a week or more while the course is in progress.
A student can ask to suspend studies or TAFE South Australia can suspend a student (usually a student discipline matter). TAFE South Australia is required to inform the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) if a student is suspended.
If a student is to be absent from the course for a week or more during term/semester approval must be sought from TAFE SA International.
If the absence is for more than two weeks this is considered a suspension under ESOS requirements and the student must request a suspension of studies prior to taking this leave of absence.
Requesting a deferral or suspension of studies
If a student needs to defer their studies before arriving in Adelaide they must contact the International Unit to have their application re-assessed, and for the Letter of Offer to be re-issued. There is no guarantee that a place can be held, particularly courses which have competitive entry. Students can request a maximum of 2 deferrals, no further requests will be accepted.
TAFE South Australia considers the following reasons as valid for a student seeking a deferral/suspension of studies once they have commenced studies in Adelaide:
- compassionate and compelling circumstances out of control of the student and may have an impact on course progress
- serious illness or injury – a medical certificate must state clearly that the student was unable to attend classes
- bereavement – the death of close family members such as parents or grandparents. Where possible a death certificate should be supplied
- major political upheaval or natural disaster in the home country which requires the student to return (emergency travel) and this has impacted on studies
- traumatic experience – for example, being involved in or witnessing an accident or witnessing an accident or a crime and this had had a negative impact on studies (in these cases police or psychologist’s reports are required)
- where your education provider cannot offer you a pre-requisite unit
- inability to begin studying on the course commencement date due to a delay in receiving a student visa.
A suspension of a student's studies may affect their Student Visa. Students should seek advice from DIBP about their specific requirements.
All suspension applications must be made to TAFE South Australia International, which will assess the request on its own individual merits. TAFE South Australia must inform the student of the suspension request outcome in writing. A student may seek to appeal the decision where a suspension has not been granted and must do so in accordance to the appeals procedure outlined in the TAFE SA Student Complaint Resolution Policy (pdf).
Where TAFE South Australia suspends a student
TAFE South Australia may suspend a student:
- if they are absent from their course without approval for more than 2 (two) consecutive weeks in a semester,
- if they do not pay tuition fees when they are due or
- if they breach TAFE SA Student Conduct Policy made available to all enrolled students.
If the period of suspension exceeds 28 days, DIBP requires students to return to their home countries (unless exceptional circumstances can be proved).
TAFE South Australia must inform the student of its intention to suspend the student in writing. A student may seek to appeal the decision where a suspension has not been granted and must do so in accordance to the appeals procedure outlined in the TAFE SA Student Complaint Resolution Policy (pdf).
If a student chooses to access the complaints and appeals process, the TAFE SA program area must maintain the student’s enrolment while the complaints and appeals process is ongoing. Depending on the outcome of the appeal, the student may or may not be reported to DIBP.