Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

The following FAQs have been composed to assist you to understand how you can work with La Trobe staff so that your enrolment is structured to enable you to complete your course within the duration of your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and student visa.

What is the Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)?
The CoE is the document you are required to submit to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to apply for a student visa. Information about your course based on the details in the Letter of Offer issued by La Trobe International, which includes the duration, are included in the CoE.

What is the link between the CoE and the student visa?
The student visa duration has been issued by DIAC based on expected course end date in the CoE. Except in extremely limited circumstances, it is not possible to remain in Australia beyond a student visa expiry date.

As a student visa holder, you are required to complete your course within the time granted on your student visa.

What happens if my visa expires and I don’t have a valid CoE?
You need to contact La Trobe International urgently to apply for an updated CoE. This may take up to seven working days due to peak periods.

Can I defer my course prior to enrolment?
Yes, but you need to contact La Trobe International to obtain a new Letter of Offer and a new CoE.

How can I do this (complete my study course within the time granted on my student visa)?
Complete within duration. Normally, international students will need to enrol in four subjects (60 credit points) each semester as the CoE and student visa length have a calculated duration on the basis of four credit points for each semester.

Can the duration of my course vary?
Yes, the duration of the course takes into account any approved Advanced Standing that will reduce the number of subjects required to successfully complete the course.

What if I do not enrol in 60 credit points per semester?
You may not be able to complete your course in student visa time and will therefore require a student visa extension. The only way La Trobe can recommend a visa extension to DIAC is if you have consulted with your Faculty Student Support Coordinator and developed an Agreed Course Plan so you can complete the course within the revised course completion date.

Can I enrol for an online or off-campus subject as part of my course?
You can enrol in online or off-campus subjects as part of your course as long as you are also enrolled in at least one on-campus subject exclusively during the compulsory study periods (i.e. Semester 1 and 2). Under the National Code, you may enrol in online or off-campus subjects up to a maximum of 25% of your total course load. If you are unsure, consult your Faculty Student Support Coordinator or the La Trobe International Compliance team at the Melbourne campus.

If I apply for a course transfer, what will be my course duration?
If you applied for a course transfer and have been granted Advanced Standing, the total course duration will be based on the number of credit points required to complete the reduced duration of the course, as determined by your Faculty.

What happens if I fail a subject?
This means you will need to complete and Agreed Course Plan and an intervention strategy to plan to get back on schedule to complete the course within the expected duration. You are advised to arrange a time to consult with your Faculty Student Support Coordinator so the intervention strategy can be established.

What is an Intervention Strategy?
Intervention strategies will vary from student to student. Strategies may be one or a combination of the following:

  • receiving a letter from the Faculty highlighting support services to improve academic performance
  • attending language and academic skills programs
  • attending counselling
  • receiving assistance with personal issues which are influencing progress
  • being placed in a suitable alternative subject within a course or a suitable alternative course, or
  • a combination of the above and a reduction in course load
  • an approved intermission.

What if I fail more subjects?
The Academic Progress Committee (APC) will make contact with you.

Can I take a leave of absence from my studies?
Yes, you can apply for a leave of absence at anytime during your course. A leave of absence means taking a break from studies. You can apply for leave of absence for up to twelve months maximum. Please also be aware that you have to be outside Australia for the period of your intermission.

A leave of absence is a consultative process with your Faculty Student Support Coordinator, and La Trobe International. It must be by formal written agreement and for a defined period of time.

In the first instance all enquiries concerning a leave of absence should be directed to La Trobe International to discuss whether they are entitled to leave of absence under the National Code and to consider the possible impact on your student visa.

Under Standard 13 of the National Code, the University must allow students to a leave of absence only one the grounds of:

  • compassionate or compelling circumstances, or
  • misconduct by the student.

You will need to provide documentary evidence and letters of support for any application for a leave of absence. A leave of absence can only be approved based on compassionate or compelling circumstances beyond your control.

These circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • serious illness or injury, where a medical certificate states that the student was unable to attend class
  • bereavement of close family members such as parent or grandparent (where possible, a death certificate should be provided)
  • major political upheaval or natural disaster in the home country requiring emergency travel and this has impacted on the student's studies, or
  • a traumatic experience which could include: involvement in, or witnessing of a serious accident; or witnessing or being the victim of a serious crime, and this has impacted on the student (these cases should be supported by police or psychologist's reports)
  • where the registered provider was unable to offer a pre-requisite subject
  • where a student in final semester seeks an extension to complete a final subject for an additional major sequence, or
  • inability to begin study on the course commencement date due to delay in receiving a student visa.

Each application will be considered on its merits and assessed on a case-by-case basis according to the University's Leave of Absence policy and procedures and the requirements of individual courses. La Trobe International will report any period of leave of absence to DIAC. 

To apply for leave of absence please go to the La Trobe Enrolment website.

What do I need to bring to an appointment with a staff member for advice (e.g. Faculty Student Support Coordinator, International Student Services Coordinator, Student Counsellor, etc)?
It is useful to bring the following:

  • your passport with evidence of visa
  • any supporting documentation as evidence of circumstances that may have affected your results.

What are the education providers guidelines for transfers?
Under the National Code 2007, providers are restricted from enrolling transferring students prior to the student completing 6 months of their principal course. The principal course is one for which a student visa has been issued as the highest level of study in the program.

For La Trobe University, this impacts in two ways:

  • A student may apply to be released from the La Trobe program before or up to the first completed six months of the principal course; this includes students on a pathway program of which the higher education component is the principal course.
  • A student may apply to commence a program at La Trobe, after arriving in Australia on the visa generated by another education provider, prior to completing six months of the principal course with the provider.

How can I get a release from La Trobe to transfer to another provider?
Normally all students who are issued a student visa as a result of a La Trobe generated Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) will be expected to complete minimum the first six months of the La Trobe principal course.

The following criteria are the only circumstances in which La Trobe will grant a release before the completion of the first six months of the La Trobe program:

  • La Trobe University CRICOS registration has been suspended
  • The course offered in the Letter of Offer becomes unavailable for new intakes
  • Failure to qualify for admission at the end of the pathway program
  • A government sponsor deems that the transfer is in the best interest of their student
  • Evidence of the course being inappropriate because it does not meet the needs of the student
  • There are grounds for compassionate and compelling circumstances
  • An applicant under 18 years old presents a valid offer from a receiving institution (which also acknowledges the responsibility to provide accommodation, support and general welfare) and provides written evidence of parents/guardian's support for the transfer.

Compassionate or compelling circumstances to be considered for approval and release from La Trobe University will normally be a sudden change of circumstance, beyond the student's control, that impact on plans for on-campus study in Australia. Such circumstances, supported by evidentiary documents, include illness or death of an immediate family member or sponsor.

The applicant requesting a release letter will be advised of the decision in writing within the agreed time frame, outlined upon receipt of application. Applications are sent to: Admissions Team, La Trobe International, Bundoora, Vic 3083.

Please note: if a student is eligible to commence and continue the nominated La Trobe course, changes to another level of study in an unrelated field to the original visa will not be approved in the period prior to or within the first six months of the principal course of study. Similarly, requests for transfers from commencing students who are in an adjustment period should not expect approval prior to enrolling for six months in the principal award course, except where there is evidence of compassionate or compelling circumstances.

The applicant will be free to pursue the change of study plans after completing an enrolment of six months in the originally intended award course at La Trobe University.

How can I get approval to transfer to La Trobe?
If an application is received from an onshore student indicating that they are currently studying at another Australian institution, the applicant must confirm the completion of the first six months of the principal course of study (i.e. the highest level of study for which the student visa was issued), and attach a copy of the visa.

If the six month period has passed, the application process proceeds as for all overseas students.

As a receiving educational institution, La Trobe University must not knowingly enrol a student wishing to transfer prior to the end of the first six months of the principal course of study ( i.e. the highest level of study for which the student visa was issued)

Please note: if the applicant is in receipt of a Government scholarship, a letter from the sponsoring Government agency is also required to support the transfer.

What if I get Australian permanent residency?
Students whose residency status changes during the application process must notify La Trobe International immediately.

If you apply as an international student but become an Australian permanent resident before your initial enrolment, your full-fee paying place will be withdrawn and you will have to re-apply for your course again as a local student.

If you start your course as an international student but become an Australian permanent resident midway through your studies, you will be considered as an international student until the end of that semester. You will then need to contact your faculty to update your enrolment status for subsequent semesters.

Can I work while I am studying?
As a student on a student visa, you are permitted to work in Australia to supplement your income. During the semester, you will be permitted to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight. There is no limit on the number of hours you are permitted to work when the University is not in session, provided it does not interfere with studies and you are not enrolled in Summer or Winter Semester.

For detailed information on work rights, contact the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

Where can I get more information?
You can speak to staff at the campus office of La Trobe International for advice on your studies and DIAC about visa related matters.