Education providers' responsibilities

​Providers should refer to the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students for detailed information about their responsibilities. The National Code is a legislative instrument of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act and applies to providers of education to students holding a Student visa (subclass 500).

National Code requirements are in addition to the education quality standards for specific sectors.

Reporting breaches of attendance and course progress

Education providers must report students who do not comply with the attendance or course progress requirements of their visa through the Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS) system.
Note: For advice on using PRISMS, contact the PRISMS Help Line at 02 6240 7647 or send an email to

Report students who:

  • do not achieve satisfactory attendance 
  • withdraw from a course
  • do not maintain satisfactory course progress.

Students must be informed in writing of the intention to report and be able to access a complaints and appeals process under the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training for Overseas Students.

Detailed information about education providers' reporting responsibilities is available on the International Education website.

A Student Course Variation (SCV) report options quick reference guide (116KB PDF) is also available.

Responsibilities for under 18 year old students

If you are approving care arrangements for students younger than 18 years of age, you must:

  • give the student a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) confirming that appropriate arrangements have been made for the student's accommodation, support and general welfare. The period nominated by the provider must be at least the length of the student's Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) plus seven days at the end of the CoE or until the student turns 18.
  • report through PRISMS any changes to the care arrangements, including the type of accommodation for example, if the student moves from a boarding school to a homestay.

This information is required to ensure compliance with Public Interest Criterion 4012A and visa condition 8532.

More information is available about Welfare requirements for student visa applicants under 18.

You are strongly advised to use the standard letters available from the PRISMS for confirming welfare arrangements and notifying of changes.

Detailed information about education providers' responsibilities is available on the International Education website.

Minimum contents of a letter of offer

Students in Australia can apply for a student visa with a letter of offer or a confirmation of enrolment (CoE) but must provide a CoE to be granted a visa.

Letters of offer made to students to support student visa applications must contain the information in the table below. Students can only use a letter of offer if they are applying in Australia.

Information the letter must containType of information
Course feesThe amount for the entire course. This is calculated by aggregating the highest estimate per semester.

The tuition costs might include the cost of health insurance where the education provider has arranged this on behalf of the student.
Course durationInclude start date, end date and length of the course.
Course descriptionThe CRICOS code and name of the course.
Education provider codeThe CRICOS code for the provider of the course.
Note: This is required because of the many institutions using different trading names.
Conditional offer of a place if applicableSpecifications of the conditions.

Note: If the letter of offer does not contain the information specified above we will need to estimate costs based on the highest tuition cost, and there might be a delay processing the application.

Arranging health insurance for students

All student visa holders must have adequate health insurance while they are in Australia. This means that the insurance must commence from the date the student arrives in Australia and must be in effect until the student leaves Australia or moves to a non-student visa.

Student visa holders in Australia who do not hold health insurance are in breach of visa condition 8501, even if their course has not yet started.

Students will be considered to have adequate health insurance if they have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Information on OSHC can be found on the Australian Department of Health website.

The following students are considered to have adequate health insurance and do not need to purchase OSHC:

  • Norwegian students  covered by the National Insurance Scheme
  • Swedish students who have insurance provided by CSN International or Kammarkkllegiet and
  • Belgian students covered under a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia.

Education providers do not have to arrange health insurance for a student. However, many education providers choose to collect premiums and arrange OSHC on behalf of international students.

An education provider must declare whether they have arranged OSHC on the student's CoE (in PRISMS). If an education provider has arranged health insurance, they must select 'yes' and enter a start and end date for the insurance.

If you are arranging health insurance, you must ensure that the student is aware:

  • that it is not mandatory that their education provider organise their insurance and they can choose to arrange their own OSHC
  • of the name of the health insurance provider
  • of their policy starts and finishes date - consistent with the duration of their visa or expected arrival and departure dates
  • the terms and conditions of their policy (which is usually achieved by sending a copy of the product disclosure statement or a link to the insurance provider's website).

The student will need this information to complete their application form and if they need to make a claim before the course commences. If this information is not provided on the visa application, the student's visa could be refused.

Students do not need to include the policy number on their application form if the education provider has arranged their OSHC coverage. However, they will need to include this if they have arranged their own OSHC.

If a course is packaged and you have organised health insurance for the part of the package that will be studied at your institution only, the student will be asked for evidence that they have arranged OSHC for the remaining period of their stay.

Generally students will be granted a visa and might want to travel to Australia before their course begins. In these circumstances, the OSHC start date should be the same as the student's date of arrival, not the date on which the course starts. Depending on the student's circumstances, OSHC that starts up to a month before their course commences could be purchased. It is the student's responsibility to make sure they don't enter Australia before their OSHC begins, and that they maintain it until they leave Australia.

Maximum period for a student visa

Student visas are generally granted for a maximum of five years if the student is studying at a secondary or tertiary institution and two years if the student is studying at primary school. We will take into account cases where it might be reasonable to apply for a longer period. For example, a medical degree might take up to six years to complete and a period of English studies might be required ahead of the principal course.

Thesis marking – Postgraduate research students

Postgraduate Research students are granted a student visa with an extra six months to allow for marking their thesis. Postgraduate Research students can in exceptional circumstances apply for a further student visa to remain in Australia for a further six months for the marking of their thesis where their education provider requires them to remain in Australia.

Student visa holders studying in a third country

Information on education provider responsibilities for student visa holders studying courses in a third country is available at International students on exchange programmes in a third country..​