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International Student Complaints – Who To Contact?

International students can complain about their education agent or their college or university if they think they have been treated unfairly or if the quality of their training is unsatisfactory.

In all cases, the student should go to their education provider to discuss their problem first. Under Australian law, all every education provider must have policies and procedures for handling student complaints.

Before you make a complaint

If you are unhappy about aspects of your experience with your education provider you should access the policies and procedures they have established to resolve complaints. These policies and procedures should be easily accessible, consistent, fair and confidential and provide advice and support.

In most cases, your complaint should be resolved locally and informally. However, you may need to use your provider’s formal complaints procedures.

Submit a formal complaint to your higher education provider

If you need to proceed with a formal complaint, you will need to submit details in writing. After your complaint has been submitted, you should receive a formal written response from your education provider outlining how your complaint will be considered and when you should receive a response.

Your college or university should investigate your complaint and notify you in writing once it has been resolved.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint, or it cannot be resolved internally, you can seek an independent, third party review. Information of the independent review party for your provider should be available in their formal grievances and complaints policies and procedures.

All students are encouraged to utilise all avenues of your provider’s internal and external grievances and complaints processes to ensure the most timely and effective resolution of your complaint

If you are studying at public or government higher education provider (University or TAFE) and have a complaint, you can seek further assistance through Commonwealth, state and territory ombudsman offices:

If you are studying with a private higher education provider and have a complaint, you should contact the Overseas Student Ombudsman, who manages international student complaints about private education providers. For more information see the Overseas Student Ombudsman’s website.

Complaints made about education agents, who also function as migration agents, should be reported to the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority  

Complaints concerning immigration or citizenship fraud should be made to the Department of Home Affairs.

Who is TEQSA?

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is Australia’s independent national quality assurance and regulatory agency for higher education.

What TEQSA can accept complaints about

A higher education provider’s compliance with the:

  • Higher Education Standards Framework (HES Framework)
  • Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act)
  • National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students (National Code).

What TEQSA cannot accept complaints about

  • matters relating to FEE – HELP
  • matters of academic judgement, such as examination results
  • requests for providers to re-mark work
  • issues concerning visas
  • problems that the provider has already rectified.

If you have been through your provider’s internal and external complaints processes, and your complaint is related to your provider’s compliance with the HES Framework, ESOS Act or National Code 2017, you can submit your complaint to TEQSA by completing their online complaints form.

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