Can international students transfer universities in Australia?

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Female Student thinking in college campus

Sometimes as an international student, you may face a hard situation when, for some reason, you are not satisfied with your current school, which means transferring universities.

It is not easy to decide that; however, it is valid and should be supported.

It happens because it doesn’t matter how much you researched about your current university or program. Only when you spend time at Uni, you realise if you made the right choice or not.

Good news is that transferring universities in Australia is not a complicated process. However, remember that if you have an Australian Scholarship, you have to see first if it will still apply if you transfer.

Keep reading to learn more about the steps you should follow to achieve this. 

Some Reasons to transfer universities

There are several reasons why international students may want to transfer universities. Just keep in mind that whatever your reason is, you are the one that decides your path in life and no one else. 

Financial issues

It is not a surprise that some universities highly differ in price from others.

A good idea can be to ask your current university if they offer some kind of financial aid. In this way, you won’t have to sacrifice your ongoing education.

Your courses don’t align with your goals

It is a possibility that you chose a program and after some time you realise it is not for you.

Bad news could be that you don’t like the available options that the university offers you as a change. 

In this scenario, a transfer would be the best idea, so your study efforts are not wasted. 

The University wasn’t a good fit for you

Maybe you feel like this place is not the place for you, and that feeling is normal. 

Maybe you had a lot of expectations about the classes, and now you feel they don’t challenge you academically. But don’t worry, take all the positive things you learned at this Uni and keep a positive view on things. 

Just keep in mind that next time you make a decision, besides doing your research, it is a good idea to ask for references as well. 

Student looking through the window

What to consider before starting the process

Look for the university counsellor

Every situation is different as every University has its transferring policy. Therefore, the ideal first step would be to talk to a student advisor so he or she can guide you through all the process. 

Furthermore, the counsellor will inform you about the financial obligations that you will have with your current university. He or she also will tell you about the visa considerations, or perhaps you will need to discuss this with your education agency, so you keep your student visa valid.

Learn about your financial obligations

It is possible that, if you leave without completing your semester, your current university will refund you a percentage of what you have already paid. This money will be useful for your new University. 

Keep in mind that tuition varies from one university to another. So, it can be less expensive, or it can cost you more. Do your research before making your decision. 

Also, universities have a due date to give students financial help and to apply. So, better expect to enter without any financial aid at least until a new semester. 

If you already have some financial aid with your current university, you have to research if it is possible to transfer the loan as well. 

Check the visa requirements

When you get your student visa, you have to meet certain requirements. In this case, you can’t transfer universities or programs if you haven’t completed at least 6 months of your course unless something extraordinary has happened.

If you are willing to transfer and you met the requirement mentioned above, your current university has to let you move to another education provider. If they don’t let you, then you will have to appeal within the institution. 

In this way, if after doing that, you are still not happy with the outcome, you can appeal the university’s decision with an external complaint handling body as the Overseas Student Ombudsman

What happens if your visa doesn’t meet the criteria?

If after the 6 months of study, your current visa still doesn’t meet the requirements for the new university, then you will have to cancel it and reapply for a student visa extension.

If your visa does meet the criteria, you will have to contact the Department of Home Affairs. You will need to provide them with a new Confirmation of enrolment provided by the new university.  

Contact the new university

After evaluating all your possibilities and doing the research, make sure that the new university is the one you want. 

Read about the courses they offer, the facilities, the infrastructure and mainly their transferring policy. 

In this way, you are sure you won’t have any problem transferring once you start the process in your current university. 

Girl speaking to the student advisor

What steps should I take if I already made up my mind?

Apply for the new university

First of all, you have to make sure that it is possible to apply for transfer to the new university.

If they give you a green light, then start with the application. 

Take into consideration that some universities ask you for a valid reason to transfer. So, take a careful look at these university requirements. 

Ask for permission in your current university

The new university will ask you for permission to transfer from your current university.

This process may take a while, so we recommend you to do it with time.

Remember that your university has the right to give you a positive or negative answer. However, you will always have the option to appeal if the outcome is not what you expected. 

Show supporting documents

To receive permission from your current university, you will have to present the following: 

  • The letter of offer from the new university
  • A letter stating the reasons why you want to transfer universities
  • If you are underage, you will need your legal guardian to support the transfer
Girl reading some school documents

Pay for all the expenses

As we mentioned before, it is hard to get financial help when transferring, at least at the beginning. So, make sure that you have the money to pay for the first-semester tuition. 

Reapply for a new visa if necessary

In July 2016, the Australian Government implemented the Simplified Student Visa Framework to simplify the visa process for international students. 

However, there are some education providers to which this kind of visa doesn’t meet the criteria. In this case, you will have to re-apply for a new visa. 

Whatever your decision is, make sure you do your research and be sure that you comply with all the requirements before adequately starting the transferring process. 

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