International Student Intervention Strategy

The University provides institutional assistance to students to achieve and maintain satisfactory academic progress and to complete their programs in the allowable period of time. The assistance is provided in a variety of ways and together they comprise the University's Intervention Strategy.

Academic Progress

The University checks academic progress at the end of the Autumn and Spring sessions. Students who do not meet the minimum progress requirements are notified and advised to seek appropriate assistance from the University. Students are identified when they fall into the following progression categories:

  • At Risk - failed half or more of unit attempts in a compulsory session. Referred to Director of Academic Program and Student Support Services.
  • Conditional Enrolment - Failed more than 50% of unit attempts in two consecutive compulsory study sessions. Referred to Director of Academic Program and Student Support Services and study load is restricted to 75% of normal full time load for the following 12 months. Students are advised to direct any appeals to their College Education, Assessment and Progression Committee via the UWS Assessment and Progression Unit.
  • At Risk of Exclusion - Failed more than 50% of unit attempts while on Conditional Enrolment or failed the same or equivalent unit twice. Referred to Director of Academic Program and Student Support Services, including International Student Advisors.
  • Exclusion - Advised of exclusion and its consequences and how to access the University's internal appeal process. Results of appeals are notified in writing. Students whose internal appeal is unsuccessful are referred to external appeal avenues.

For full details of the progression rules and appeal process, students and staff are directed to the following web pages for further details:

Completion Within Allowable Time Period - Student Visa Holders

Different provisions apply to student visa holders and local or temporary resident student.

Student Visa Holders

For onshore student visa holders, the expected completion time is the end of their Confirmation of Enrolment, issued by the University for student visa purposes. Extension of the completion date and the student visa are possible in limited circumstances, detailed below.

The University monitors the study load of student visa holders in order to ensure that they can complete within their visa period or enable students to extend their study time and visa in accordance with legislative requirements.

How is Study Load Monitored?

The University checks student visa holders' study load at the beginning of each compulsory study period. Students in the following categories are notified by official University student email:

  • Student Visa holders with 'Goodstanding' progress status who are enrolled in less than the normal full time study load of 40 credit points in the Autumn or Spring sessions or 20 credit points in a Quarter
  • Student Visa holders with Conditional Enrolment progress status enrolled in fewer than 30 Credit points in Autumn or Spring sessions.

Limit on External Units

  • Student Visa holders in Australia can study up to 25% of their course by online and/or distance learning, but in each compulsory study period each student must be studying at least one unit that is not by distance or online mode.

Note: Student Visa Holders do not need to seek permission to study less than 100% full-time load in their last study session when the remaining units do not amount to a full-time load.

What Happens to Notified Students?

The Application to Reduce Study Load Form (opens in a new window) provides a detailed explanation and is the record of permission to carry reduced study load.

The University asks students to download the Application to Reduce Study Load Form (opens in a new window) can be printed and taken to the Director of Academic Programs (DAP); or emailed with a request for an appointment.

  • The DAP or Student Welfare Service completes the relevant sections (granted or denied approval for the reduced study load),
  • Student Central SILO issues the new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) if necessary and sends it to the student via official student email.
  • If the load reduction is NOT approved by the School the Student Central SILO advises the student of the load requirement for student visa holders and the visa implications for the student of the reduced load without UWS approval.
  • Reduced Study Load Flowchart (opens in a new window)

When Can a Student Visa be Extended to Allow Course Completion?

Students in Australia on a student visa need to complete their studies within the course duration that is on their Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).

The University may only extend the duration of the student's study where it is clear that the student will not complete the course within the expected duration, as specified on the student's COE, as the result of:

  • Compassionate or compelling circumstances (for example illness where a medical certificate states that the student was unable to attend classes or where the registered provider was unable to offer a pre-requisite unit)

  • The registered provider implementing its intervention strategy for students who were at risk of not meeting satisfactory course progress or

  • An approved deferment or suspension of study has been granted (for example, Leave of Absence).

What are Compassionate or Compelling Circumstances?

These are generally those beyond the control of the student and which have an impact upon the student's course progress or well being. These could include, but are not limited to:

  • Serious illness or injury, where a medical certificate states that the student was unable to attend classes;
  • Bereavement of close family members such as parents or grandparents;
  • Major political upheaval or natural disaster in the home country requiring emergency travel when this has impacted on the student's studies; or
  • A traumatic experience which could include involvement in, or witnessing of a serious accident; witnessing or being the victim of a serious crime when this has impacted on the student. Such cases should be supported by police or psychologists' reports
  • Where the University was unable to offer a pre-requisite unit;
  • Student could not begin studying on the course commencement date due to delay in receiving a student visa
  • If the student had failed occasional units throughout the course but had not done so poorly as to be picked up by the University's academic progression monitoring process.
  • A student's approved study load prior to 1 July 2007 leads to the student being unable to complete within the expected duration. (the University will need to have evidence that the student was following the provider's course advice.)

(Source: DEST ESOS National Code Guide)

Other exceptional cases - students whose circumstances are outside the ones listed above, should seek assistance from the University's Support Services for Students or other professional services and attach supporting documentation obtained from them.

Contact the International Student Advisor team for assistance. University staff can also direct their inquiries to Western Sydney International at

Completion Within Allowable Time Period - Local and Temporary Resident Students

For local course work students, the maximum time allowed for course completion is one and a half times the minimum part time study period. For example, the maximum period for a 240 credit point course is nine years. Periods of approved Leave of Absence are not included in the calculation.

Full details can be found in the University's Enrolment Policy and Progression and Unsatisfactory Academic Progress Policy.