Frequently asked questions on this page:
Registered providers systematically monitor students’ compliance with student visa conditions relating to attendance. Registered providers are proactive in notifying and counselling students who are at risk of failing to meet attendance requirements. Registered providers report students under Section 19 of the ESOS Act who have breached the attendance requirements.
For all courses (VET, accredited or non-award ELICOS, accredited schools, foundation) requiring attendance-monitoring:
Under the revised National Code, the following changes have occurred:
he registered provider must record the attendance of each student for the scheduled course contact hours for each CRICOS registered course in which the student is enrolled which is:
an accredited vocational education and training course (unless Standard 11.2 applies)
an accredited school course
an accredited or non-award ELICOS course; or
another non-award course.
Where the registered provider implements the DEEWR and DIAC approved course progress policy and procedures for its vocational education and training courses, Standard 11 does not apply.
monitor student attendance for the contact hours of the course as indicated in 11.1; or
use the Department of Education–DIBP approved course progress policy and procedures to monitor, assess and record course progress of each student.
For the courses identified in 11.1, the registered provider must have and implement appropriate documented attendance policies and procedures for each course which must be provided to staff and students that specify the:
requirements for achieving satisfactory attendance, which at a minimum, requires overseas students to attend at least 80 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours
manner in which attendance and absences are recorded and calculated
process for assessing satisfactory attendance
process for determining the point at which the student has failed to meet satisfactory attendance; and
procedure for notifying students that they have failed to meet satisfactory attendance requirements.
For the courses identified in 11.1, the registered provider’s attendance policies and procedures must identify the process for contacting and counselling students who have been absent for more than five consecutive days without approval or where the student is at risk of not attending for at least 80 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours for the course in which he or she is enrolled (before the student’s attendance drops below 80 per cent).
For the courses identified in 11.1, the registered provider must regularly assess the attendance of the student in accordance with the registered provider’s attendance policies and procedures.
Where the registered provider has assessed the student as not achieving satisfactory attendance for the courses identified in 11.1, the registered provider must notify the student in writing of its intention to report the student for not achieving satisfactory attendance. The written notice must inform the student that he or she is able to access the registered provider’s complaints and appeals process as per Standard 8 (Complaints and Appeals) and that the student has 20 working days in which to do so.
Where the student has chosen not to access the complaints and appeals processes within the 20 working day period, withdraws from the process, or the process is completed and results in a decision supporting the registered provider, the registered provider must notify the Secretary of DEEWR through PRISMS that the student is not achieving satisfactory attendance as soon as practicable.
For the vocational education and training and non-award courses identified in 11.1 a. and 11.1 d. the registered provider may only decide not to report the student for breaching the 80 per cent attendance requirement where:
that decision is consistent with its documented attendance policies and procedures; and
the student records clearly indicate that the student is maintaining satisfactory course progress; and
the registered provider confirms that the student is attending at least 70 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours for the course in which he or she is enrolled.
For the ELICOS and school courses identified in 11.1, the registered provider may only decide not to report a student for breaching the 80 per cent attendance requirement where:
the student produces documentary evidence clearly demonstrating that compassionate or compelling circumstances (for example illness where a medical certificate states that the student is unable to attend classes) apply; and
and this has impacted on the student (these cases should be supported by police or psychologists’ reports)
Please note that the above are only some of examples of what may be considered compassionate or compelling circumstances. Providers are asked to use their professional judgement and to assess each case on its individual merits. When determining whether compassionate or compelling circumstances exist, providers should consider documentary evidence provided to support the claim, and should keep copies of these documents in the student’s file.
For a provider to show it is complying with Standard 11, it may need some of the following as evidence:
Please note: While the majority of questions and answers apply to all sectors, some scenarios included below apply only to a specific sector.
When do providers which monitor attendance need to contact and counsel students for non-attendance?
Providers which monitor attendance must contact and counsel students who:
Do providers in the VET, non-award*, school and ELICOS sectors have the flexibility to not report the student for non-attendance if the student is attending at least 70 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours?
Yes. If a provider wishes to maintain 80 per cent as the absolute threshold for reporting for non-attendance (and not consider compassionate or compelling circumstances or satisfactory attendance as circumstances in which they will allow attendance of 70 per cent and above) the provider may do so, as long as this policy is applied to all cases equally and is clearly stated in the provider’s attendance policies and procedures.
* For the purposes of the National Code, non-award courses do not include higher education courses or units including Study Abroad courses.
Can providers which monitor attendance set higher attendance requirements than 80 per cent?
Yes. Providers can set higher attendance requirements than 80 per cent. If a provider feels a higher attendance level is crucial to students’ learning, the provider may set this higher level. If the students are unable to meet this higher attendance level, they must then be reported for unsatisfactory attendance (subject to the outcome of any appeals).
If considering setting a higher attendance requirement, providers need to think about how this requirement may affect the provider’s flexibility to manage the absence of students who may be absent with good cause (for example compassionate or compelling reasons) and who may otherwise be performing well.
Are providers expected to monitor attendance for distance learning or online units? If so, how?
No. Attendance cannot be monitored because students do not attend classes for online units. However, students undertaking online units must participate in learning activities that have been outlined in the course requirements, for example, interactive online discussions and submitting assignments. They must meet benchmarks to demonstrate they are making satisfactory course progress.
Students’ results for online units will need to be considered in course progress monitoring in accordance with the provider’s course progress policy or the Department of Education–DIBP course progress policy if the provider is using it.
ELICOS and Schools sectors can take compassionate or compelling circumstances into account for not reporting students whose attendance falls to between 70 per cent and 80 per cent. How do providers calculate attendance where absences are supported by medical certificates?
An absence supported by a medical certificate is counted towards the student’s total absences when calculating attendance. Providers are responsible for assessing if compassionate or compelling circumstances actually exist before reporting a student for unsatisfactory attendance.
How is the 80 per cent attendance point calculated in ELICOS courses?
Standard 11 requires providers to ensure overseas students attend a minimum of 80 per cent of the scheduled course contact hours and to regularly monitor students’ attendance.
An ELICOS provider can calculate the 80 per cent point by:
Making it 80 per cent of the period of the CoE or
Divide the course into discrete study periods and monitor compliance against 80 per cent attendance of weeks/days/hours in each study period.
Does a provider who monitors attendance have to report a student if the student’s attendance has fallen below 80 per cent?
A provider does not have to report a student who is studying a VET, ELICOS, non-award* or school course for breaching the 80 per cent attendance requirement, if:
Once the student’s attendance has fallen below 70 per cent, the provider must issue a notice of intention to report the student for unsatisfactory attendance, informing the student of his/her right to appeal.
A provider of ELICOS courses decides not to report a student when the student’s attendance has fallen below 80 per cent but is above 70 per cent because there are compelling or compassionate circumstances.
Nylai has been enrolled in Southside Academy of English and her attendance has fallen to 75 per cent at week six of the term. Nylai had received a warning letter when her attendance had fallen to 82 per cent, but further absences due to illness lowered her attendance to 75 per cent. The academy looked at the circumstances of Nylai’s attendance and decided not to report her for falling below 80 per cent because of her ongoing problem with illness, which had been substantiated by a doctor’s certificate. This is consistent with the academy’s attendance policy and procedure. Under the academy’s policy and procedures, Nylai will not be reported for unsatisfactory attendance because her attendance is above 70 per cent and she has provided a medical certificate to explain her absences. She will, however, receive a warning letter and counselling from the provider.
At what point is the provider required to report a student for unsatisfactory attendance?
The provider must report a student for non-attendance once the student can no longer meet the attendance requirement in accordance with their documented policies and procedures.
For example, providers should consider their course hours for a study period, then work out the number of hours a student would have to miss in the study period in order to fall below the reporting threshold. This means that in a course with 200 contact hours per term, the student would need to miss over 40 hours (20 per cent of 200) in order to fall below the 80 per cent reporting threshold. In this case, the student should be reported for unsatisfactory attendance once the student missed more than 40 hours of the course (if the provider’s policies did not allow for the flexibility provided under Standard 11.8 and 11.9).
Following on from the example above (for a course of 200 contact hours per term) , if the provider allowed for 70 per cent as a minimum attendance threshold under the circumstances listed in Standards 11.8 and 11.9, the provider would need to report the student once the student had missed more than 60 hours (30 per cent of 200) of the course.
What information should be included in the notice of intention to report?
The notice of intention to report should clearly state that the student has breached their visa condition in relation to course progress requirements under Standard 10.
Notices should refer to the student by name rather than a generic "Dear student" and include the address to which the notice was sent. These details will ensure providers can track to whom and where the notice was sent.
Standard 11.6 states that when a provider informs a student of its intention to report the written notice must:
"…inform the student that he or she is able to access the registered provider's complaints and appeals process as per Standard 8 (Complaints and appeals) and that the student has 20 working days to do so."
When I send a notice of intention to report, when should I begin counting the 20 working days?
To avoid confusion, providers are advised to include in the notice the date on which the 20 working days commences. Suggested wording:
"…you have 20 working days beginning on in which you may access the College's complaints and appeals process."
The critical issue for providers when sending notices is to allow students the full 20 working days to access the complaints and appeals process if they choose to do so. Consequently, providers should not begin counting the 20 days from the date of the notice or decision to report the student, unless they can demonstrate delivery the same day as the date on the letter/notice.
For ESOS compliance purposes providers can rely on Australia Post advice as to usual delivery times to set the start date of the 20 working days.
If I use registered mail to send the notice of intention to report, when does the 20 working days begin?
While registered mail is considered best practice, it is not a requirement under the ESOS Act or National Code. Where a provider chooses to use registered mail, the 20 working days should begin from the time the student signs the delivery slip.
Can I use the student's pigeon hole to deliver the notice of intention to report?
Yes, but the student should be fully informed of such arrangements prior to any notices being delivered under Standard 11.6. For example, it could be noted in your policies and orientation material. It is good practice for the provider to only use this method where most other correspondence with the student is delivered in this manner.
Can I send a notice of intention to report via email, fax, web-based communication or any other form of electronic communications?
Yes, but you must have informed the student via a direct communication or via your publications that written notices under Standard 11.6 will be given by electronic communication. The notice of intention to report must state the date on which the the 20 working day period prescribed by Standard 11.6 would commence.
What does a provider of VET courses have to do to implement the Department of Education–DIBP course progress policy and procedure?
The provider of VET courses can download the Department of Education–DIBP course progress policy and procedures and implement it to cover all of its VET courses. The document provides the policy which must be applied, and providers are required to document the procedures they will follow in order to implement the policy.
To indicate the decision to implement the Department of Education–DIBP course progress policy, the provider must do so through PRISMS. The provider does this by clicking the ‘Yes’ button for the field ‘Department of Education–DIBP Course Progress Policy & Procedure implemented?’ The provider’s level of access to PRISMS will determine where this field will appear.
For further details, please see the Department of Education–DIBP course progress policy and procedures (pdf, 611kb) (rtf, 107kb).
The Migration Act 1958
Student visa conditions 8202
For further information about this Standard, please visit the Australian Education International and Department of Immigration and Border Protection websites.
1 For the purposes of the National Code, non-award courses do not include higher education courses or units, including Study Abroad courses.