Student Complaints

Overseas students may sometimes be unhappy with the level of service they receive from their education provider while studying in Australia. Student concerns may be about:

  • Something the student was promised by the education provider – for example, a job – before they come to Australia but it does not happen
  • Campus facilities
  • Accommodation or homestay
  • The level of student services
  • Assessments
  • The quality of teaching
  • Fee and/ or refunds
  • The way the education provider manages problems with the student’s attendance or  academic progress.

All education providers who offer courses to international students must have policies and procedures in place to deal with student complaints. These policies and procedures often use two common words, (a) a complaint and (b) an appeal.

What is a complaint? A complaint is when you say (or write) that you are unhappy, frustrated or dissatisfied with the quality of a service you receive, something that another person has done or the way something is done.

What is an appeal?  You make an appeal, usually to someone in authority, if you want then to change a decision they have made.

The most important thing for you is to speak to someone if you are unhappy about something or you think you were treated unfairly. Small problems can become bigger if we do not tell others in authority about the way we feel.

The first person you should always speak to is your teacher. Your teacher will have a special relationship with you, will know you better than others at your school and wants you to enjoy your time while studying in Australia. If your teacher cannot help you, he/she will know who you should talk to, for example, the Director of Studies or someone in Student Services. Again, the most important thing is to talk to someone.

Click on the link below to see Australian Centre of English’s Complaints and Appeals procedures and flowchart.

pdfComplaints & Appeals Procedures – Student Version

pdfComplaints & Appeals Flowchart

If you are still unhappy with the way your complaint or appeal is handled by your education provider, you have a right to access an external complaint and appeals process, this means someone outside your school and from the Australian government who will listen to your complaint or appeal. This government department is called the Overseas Students Ombudsman.

The Overseas Student Ombudsman offers international students a free and independent service.

The contact details for the Overseas Students Ombudsman are as follows;

The Overseas Students Ombudsman,

GPO Box 442, Canberra ACT 2601

Phone: 1300 362 072

Fax: 02-6276 0123


To find out more about how the Overseas Student Ombudsman can help you if you have a compliant or appeal, you can go to the website at

You can also open the link below to see the Overseas Student Ombudsman’s brochure.