International students can apply to defer (or temporarily suspend) their studies.  This can be done either prior to commencement/arrival at TAFE SA or during their studies. 
For continuing students, absences of less than two weeks are considered a leave of absence and can be approved by the relevant program area.  Absences of more than two weeks are considered a deferral and require approval by both the program area and the International Unit (using the required form indicated below). Typically, students with an approved deferral of longer than two weeks, would recommence their studies at the next available term or semester for their course. 

An administration fee may be charged for a deferral application, see Refunds for details.

Requesting a deferral (or suspension) of studies

New students: If a student needs to defer their start date before arriving in Adelaide, they must contact the International Unit to have their application re-assessed and Letter of Offer re-issued.  There is no guarantee that a place can be held, particularly in courses with competitive entry.   Students can request a maximum of 2 deferrals, no further requests will be accepted.
Current students: Approval is required from the program area and international unit and is only granted in limited circumstances.  Submit this completed Withdrawal / Deferral / Release form to the International Unit for assessment.

The allowed circumstances for deferrals are, but not limited to:

  • compassionate and compelling circumstances beyond the control of the international student which may have an impact on course commencement, progress or wellbeing
  • serious illness or injury – a medical certificate must state clearly that the international student was unable to attend classes for the relevant period
  • bereavement – the death of close family members. Where possible a copy of a death certificate should be supplied
  • major political upheaval or natural disaster in the home country which requires the international student to return (emergency travel) and this has impacted on studies
  • traumatic experience – for example, being involved in or witnessing an accident or a crime which may have a negative impact on the international student’s capacity to study (in these cases police or medical practitioner reports are required).

A deferral may result in changes to the duration of your course/s, fees, or course offerings, and in cases where the course end date extends beyond the original course, a revised eCOE/s.  It may also affect the student visa. Students should always seek advice from the Department of Home Affairs about their specific requirements.

TAFE SA will inform the student of the deferral request outcome in writing, via email.  A student may seek to appeal the decision where the deferral has not been granted and must do so in accordance to the appeals procedure outlined in Complaints and Appeals.

TAFE SA initiated suspensions and cancellations of enrolment

The circumstances where TAFE SA may suspend or cancel an international student’s enrolment include, but are not limited to, where the student:

  • is absent from their course without approval for more than two consecutive weeks in a semester
  • has had an application for deferral of studies rejected and ceases to continue participation in studies
  • has not paid tuition fees when they are due
  • has not commenced their studies
  • fails to return to studies after an approved semester break, deferral (or suspension) of studies, or holiday, without notifying TAFE SA
  • is subject to compassionate and/or compelling circumstances
  • displays academic or non-academic misconduct under the TAFE SA Assessment Policy, or TAFE SA Student Conduct and Disciplinary Policy
  • through their action or inaction, results in a breach of the International Students Policy (Attendance and Course Progress) or the International Students Policy (Admissions and Enrolment), other TAFE SA policy, or their visa or legislative obligations or requirements
  • deliberately disengages with their studies despite attempts to support the student as per the International Students Policy (Attendance and Course Progress)
  • has an enrolment in any course cancelled regardless of which party initiated the cancellation (TAFE SA or the international student). In this case, all subsequent enrolments shall be cancelled.
  • is deceased.

Passive withdrawal situations which may also result in a student’s enrolment to be cancelled are:

  • A student’s non-commencement of studies; and
  • A student failing to return to studies after an approved semester break, deferral (or suspension) of studies, or holiday without notifying TAFE SA.

In most cases, to notify students that TAFE SA intends to cancel their enrolment, a student will be issued with an Intention to Suspend or Cancel Enrolment Letter (or email).  Students will be given 20 days in which to appeal this decision as per Complaints and Appeals.

The International Unit may require international students returning from suspension based on medical grounds to provide medical clearance from their medical practitioner confirming they are fit to return to full time study, prior to such return.

If TAFE SA cancels or suspends the enrolment of an international student who is under 18 years of age, TAFE SA shall continue to approve the welfare arrangements for that student until any of the following applies:

  • new arrangements are made with another provider at a negotiated start date
  • care of the student by a parent or nominated relative is approved by DoHA
  • the student leaves Australia
  • the student turns 18
  • other suitable arrangements are made
  • TAFE SA has notified Immigration under the National Code (5.3.6) that it is no longer able to approve the student’s welfare arrangements or
  • under the National Code (5.5) that TAFE SA has taken the required action after not being able to contact the student.