Education Providers Roles And Responsibilities

Reporting breaches of attendance and course progress

Education providers are required to report students failing to comply with the attendance or course progress requirements of their visa to us 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

Education providers must report students who:

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

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

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

Responsibilities for under 18 year old students

Education providers approving care arrangements for students less than 18 years old must:

  • give us a signed statement confirming that for a nominated period appropriate arrangements have been made for the student's accommodation, support and general welfare. The period nominated by the provider must be a 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.
    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.

See Welfare requirements for student visa applicants under 18 for more information.

Education providers 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 Australian Education International website.

Minimum contents of a letter of offer

Letters of offer made to students are used to support student visa applications and must contain the information in the table below.

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

The tuition costs may 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 a letter of offer does not contain the information specified in the table above the department will need to estimate costs based on the highest tuition cost, and there may be a delay processing the application.

Arranging health insurance for students

All student visa holders are required to have adequate health insurance while they are in Australia. This means that the insurance must commence from the date the student arrives in Australia on their student visa and must be in effect until the student leaves Australia or moves to a non-student visa subclass. If a student visa holder is in Australia and does not hold health insurance, they are in breach of visa condition 8501, even if their course has not yet started.

  • Adequate health insurance is generally defined as Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). 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.

An education provider does 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 a provider is arranging health insurance, there are a number of details they should make sure the student is aware of, including:

  • that it is not mandatory for the student to have an education provider organise their insurance and they may choose to arrange their own OSHC
  • the name of the health insurance provider
  • when their policy starts and finishes
  • 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).

If a provider has not arranged health insurance or does not include a start and end date, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection will request further information from the student.

An education provider may also wish to inform prospective students about the importance of not entering Australia before their health insurance has begun as they will be in breach of their visa. Should they need to travel before the insurance has started, the education provider or the student must contact the health insurance provider to request that the cover starts earlier. This may mean there are additional costs.

When must a student hold health insurance?

It is a legislative requirement that a student must provide evidence they have made arrangements for adequate health insurance before a decision on their visa is made. If evidence is not provided with the visa application a departmental officer will usually contact the student and ask for evidence. Usually the student is given 28 days to provide the requested information. If a student chooses to arrange their own insurance, they will be asked to provide a copy of their policy. If an education provider purchases the insurance on behalf of the student, the data entered into PRISMS is considered sufficient evidence.

A health insurance policy must cover a student's entire period of stay in Australia on a student visa. There is information about how long a student visa is usually granted for under the 'how the visa works' tab for each student visa on our website. This is a good indication of how long after the course has finished OSHC will continue to be required.

If a course is packaged, OSHC must be arranged for the entire duration of all courses the student proposes to study. If an education provider has organised insurance for the part of the package that will be studied at their 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 may wish to travel to Australia before their course begins. In these circumstances, the OSHC start date should not be the same as the course start date. 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.

Information on OSHC can be found on the Australian Department of Health website.

Maximum period for a student visa

A student visa is generally issued for a maximum period of five years. The department will take into account cases where it might be reasonable to apply for a longer period.
Example: A medical degree may take up to six years to complete and a period of English studies may be required ahead of the principal course.

Thesis marking – Postgraduate research students

Postgraduate Research sector students are currently granted a student visa with an extra six months to stay in Australia during the marking of their thesis. Postgraduate Research students may in exceptional circumstances apply for a further 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.

A visa may be granted for a maximum continuous period of six months.

Maximum number of courses in packages

Our systems have the capacity to record a maximum of nine CoE for each visa grant.
Note: Courses can only be packaged where one of the courses is a prerequisite to another course, or where one of the courses may only be taken after the completion of another course.

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 Overseas students on exchange programmes in a third country.

Providing immigration assistance

We have the guidelines available about the type of assistance education provider staff can give to students if they are not registered migration agents.

See Giving migration advice in Australia for more information.