Some Australian universities are offering tuition fee rebates to offshore students who are learning remotely since the country’s borders closed in March due to COVID-19. This includes the University of Adelaide which announced a fee rebate capped at 20% for all continuing and commencing international students who are studying offshore.
The university notes that the rebate will only apply until travel restrictions are lifted, but will be honoured for the full semester of study. They add that students cannot choose to remain offshore and receive the rebate for future intakes.
The Council of International Student Australia (CISA) has lauded the move but called for more institutions to follow, citing struggles with online study offshore, unsatisfactory learning quality and students finding it difficult to justify tuition fees of up to 40,000 Australian dollars per year, reported The PIE News. CISA is the national peak student representative organisation for international students studying at the postgraduate, undergraduate, private college, TAFE, ELICOS and foundation level.
“By offering this fee rebate, the University of Adelaide has shown their commitment towards a fair and quality experience for international students through tangible actions,” CISA president Belle Lim was quoted saying. “We hope to see more universities and education providers take similar actions to offer relief for international students that couldn’t participate in the Australian campus experience due to the pandemic.”
CISA also called for education providers to abolish the late payment fee and offer plans to relieve the financial stress international students currently face and encourage them to complete their programme at an Australian institution. “Most students are very keen/desperate to return to Australia and resume their study on campus,” said Lim.
Australian universities’ financial hardship offerings
— Study International (@Study_INTNL) October 23, 2020
Other universities are offering similar initiatives. Bond University in Gold Coast said its September semester is being delivered via a multi-model format and that all students receive a 10% reduction intuition fees.
Eligible students can apply for a grant of between AU$500 Australian dollars and AU$2,000 from the Interstate Relocation Student Hardship Fund.
Griffith University is offering 20% off tuition fees for full-time international students enrolled in Trimester 3 2020 undergraduate, postgraduate coursework and study abroad programmes at the university.
The University of Queensland offered international students a 12.5% tuition fee rebate for Semester 2, 2020, Summer Semester 2020 and Semester 1, 2021 for full fee-paying international coursework students who are unable to come to Australia due to government border controls.
Approximately 22% of enrolled international students are currently stuck overseas, according to Department of Home Affairs data. Charles Darwin University (CDU) is set to be the first university in the country to pilot a programme to bring international students back to Australia. The pilot was approved by the Australian and Northern Territory governments and will see up to 70 international students arrive in Darwin from Singapore in late October in time for the next intake on Nov. 9, 2020. A second group of students will enter the country via South Australia’s pilot programme, which will see 300 international students fly into the state between Nov. 2020 and Jan. 2021.