With many international students stuck in their home country due to COVID-19 restrictions, a few Australian Universities have offered tuition fee rebates. The tuition fee rebates are a step towards reducing the financial burden of the students who are stuck outside of Australia and are not able to access course materials, etc.
Among the few institutions who have offered rebates, the University of Adelaide is offering a 20% tuition fee rebate to students who are currently outside the country and are forced to learn remotely. Other institutions who have offered similar rebates include Bond University, Western Sydney University and Griffith University.
In a statement released by the interim deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Adelaide, Jennie Shaw spoke on acknowledging the importance of the commencing and continuing international students who have not been able to travel to the country due to border restrictions.
The University’s SRC President, Oscar Ong mentioned that the students who are in Australia have had access to the academic and financial Student Support Package, which offshore students have missed out on.
He further added that a 20% COVID-19 Offshore Study Fee will be introduced in a bid to support continuing and commencing offshore undergraduate and postgraduate students. The rebate will be applicable for all those students stuck outside of the country and are unable to access course selections, materials and support.
The move by the University of Adelaide has garnered appreciation from the Council of International Student Australia (CISA). It further requested other Universities and educational institutions to bring out similar support packages. They outlined the challenges and questions raised by students including challenges with studying online offshore, the inability to justify high tuition fees, some as high as AUS$40,000 per year and overall unsatisfactory quality of learning.
CISA President Belle Lim commended the move by the University of Adelaide and stated that the University’s “commitment towards a fair and quality experience for international students through tangible actions” like the fee rebate.
CISA also calls all educational providers to revoke their late payment fees and offer additional payment plans to offer relief to international students from the financial burden they are currently facing. She added that this help in reducing the financial burden of the students will motivate them to complete their education in the institution and provide better educational results.
Earlier this year, Australian Universities had provided a hardship relief fund few hundred dollars following strict eligibility. However, information regarding the amount of money distributed to students as well as the amount of money received by students is unclear, Lim added.
Lim stated that international students have requested for more concessions considering the current situation, which included the extended Confirmation of Enrolment, the Payment Plans, online case support and even the removal of late payment fee, among others.
As per data from the Department of Home Affairs, nearly 22% of the enrolled international students are currently stuck outside the country.
In further statements from Belle Lim, she commented on the lack of student support provided by institutions in the form of counselling or case support, which are essential to the wellbeing of the students.