Changes to your enrolment

International students must abide by student visa conditions. However, when there are compassionate or compelling grounds that prevent international students from studying full-time in any compulsory study session, they may be allowed to reduce their study load to part time or take a leave of absence from their study (ESOS National Code (2018) Standard 9).

To reduce study load or take a leave of absence, students must provide a personal statement outlining their circumstances and how it affects their ability to study full-time and provide valid supporting documentation. Applications without supporting documentation may be declined.

If you are experiencing any circumstances that are affecting your study and wellbeing, please contact Student Welfare Service by emailing or call 1300 668 370 (Option 5) as soon as possible.

What circumstances are considered compassionate or compelling?

Compassionate circumstances for an application may include serious health issues, hardship, trauma, bereavement or other unavoidable circumstances, that have caused substantial disruption to your capacity to study. Compassionate or compelling circumstances are generally those beyond your control. These could include, but are not limited to:

  • serious illness or injury
  • bereavement of close family members such as parents or grandparents (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 overseas student’s studies; or
  • a traumatic experience, which could include:
    • involvement in, or witnessing of a serious accident; or
    • the impact of witnessing or being the victim of a serious crime (these cases should be supported by reports from medical professionals or police)
  • where the University or its partners were unable to offer a pre-requisite subject, or
  • you have failed a prerequisite subject and therefore face a shortage of relevant subjects for which you are eligible to register.

What circumstances are NOT considered compassionate or compelling?

Circumstances that are considered to be within the control of a student, or which are expected, are not considered compassionate or compelling. These include, but are not limited to:

  • travel or employment issues
  • minor medical illness or homesickness
  • financial issues that cannot be demonstrated by significant supporting documents
  • short-term minor illnesses, such as a mild cold
  • unspecified health conditions or generalised symptoms of being unwell, tired or stressed, including stress from an assessment
  • routine work commitments
  • ordinary life events, travel plans or change of address
  • an accident involving short-term injury

What to prepare for your application

When applying for Reduced Study Load or Leave of Absence, you MUST provide:

  • Details of your compassionate or compelling circumstances and how it affects your ability to study full-time and your personal wellbeing
  • Documentary evidence to demonstrate your circumstances
  • A documented support plan which includes strategies you will implement to address the issues you are having so that you can return to full-time study in future study sessions. You are encouraged to use the Medical Information form when applying on medical grounds. The form should be completed by your treating doctor or counsellor.

What is suitable documentary evidence?

Medical reasons

  • Medical Information form completed by your treating healthcare professional, OR
  • A medical certificate or letter from a doctor stating the date your medical condition began or changed and how your condition has affected your ability to study. Medical certificate must include signature of doctor and provider’s stamp. If this is unavailable, a medical provider number on the practitioner’s letterhead is to be submitted.

A medical certificate stating just "illness" or "medical condition" may not be sufficient. Medical certificates signed by family members will generally not be accepted. Documents must be in English, and if not, supplied with a certified translation.

Personal reasons

  • A statement from your doctor, counsellor or independent member of the community (e.g. A Justice of the Peace or a Minister of Religion) stating: The date your personal circumstance began or changed and how your circumstance has affected your ability to study
  • If relating to bereavement of a close family member, where possible, a death certificate should be provided
  • If you are applying to take leave and return home due to your circumstances, please provide copies of flight tickets or VEVO statement if you are currently offshore

Academic reasons

If you are unable to undertake a full-time study load for academic reasons such as units not being available, you must contact your Academic Program Advisor (APA) or Director of Academic Program (DAP) to discuss your study plans and seek approval. Contact details of relevant staff are available in the Western Sydney University Handbook here.

How to apply for Reduced Study Load (RSL) or Leave of Absence (LoA)

Applications must be submitted via WesternNow before the advertised census date of the compulsory study session. Any application that is incomplete or submitted after census will be automatically rejected. Your application will take up to 10 working days to be assessed from the date all required supporting documents have been provided.

If you’re studying at the International College or Sydney City Campus, do not apply using WesternNow. Contact your support team directly to discuss your circumstances and Reduced Study Load or Leave of Absence request.

Important Information:

You must be enrolled in a full-time load and pay tuition fees by the commencement of each compulsory study session. You must attend all classes and remain enrolled until you receive an email with the application outcome via your student email.

If you are not registered in any subjects by week 2 of a compulsory study session and are not on an approved Leave of Absence, your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) will be cancelled and you will be reported to Immigration for non-enrolment.

If you are in your first study session, you are not eligible to apply for Leave of Absence. You will need to apply for deferment. Contact International Admissions via WesternNow.

If you are in your final study session, you are not required to apply for Reduced Study Load.

Apply for Reduced Study Load via WesternNow here.

Apply for Leave of Absence via WesternNow here.

Do you hold a Scholarship and/or Sponsorship?

If you are not enrolled in a full-time study load of a compulsory study session you may be in breach of your scholarship terms and conditions.

If you are on an approved Leave of Absence (LoA) and wish to retain your scholarship please provide evidence of the LoA approval email from Student Services Hub to The International Scholarship Team will assess the request and provide an outcome within two weeks.

If you are on an approved Reduced Study Load, the International Scholarships team will automatically be notified of the outcome. You will receive an email from the International Scholarships team about any changes to your Scholarship.

What are the Visa implications?

Changes to your study load may have an impact on your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and Visa, as your course end date could change. You may need to get a new CoE and apply for a new student visa if you are unable to complete your course within the current visa timeframe. It is important that you are aware of the impact that taking leave or reducing study load might have on future enrolment patterns. Please discuss your study plans with your Academic Program Advisor (APA) or Director of Academic Program (DAP). Contact details of relevant staff are available in the Western Sydney University Handbook here.

If you have any questions about the Visa impacts of Reduced Study Load (RSL) or taking Leave of Absence (LOA) contact the Department of Home Affairs on 131 881 or speak to a Registered Migration Agent.

Changing enrolment after Census date

If you had to withdraw after the census date because of extenuating circumstances, you may be eligible for your grade to be changed to a Withdrawal without academic penalty grade (called a W grade) and to have your tuition fee for the subject/s refunded. Please refer to the Withdrawal without academic penalty page for further details.

If you want to discuss your circumstances before you apply for WWAP, please book an appointment with a Welfare Officer by email or call 1300 668370 (Option 5) as soon as possible.

How to apply for Resignation

If you're an International student you'll need to complete the Discontinuation from Program form in WesternNow.

Once the application is processed, your enrolment will end. This will be reported on your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) showing that you are no longer studying. This may have an impact on your student visa. Please seek advice directly from the Department of Home Affairs as soon as possible by calling 131 881.

If you are returning home, please contact Immigration and ask about requesting a voluntary student visa cancellation. More information about requesting a visa cancellation is available here on the Department of Home Affairs website 

If you have any unused tuition fees you can apply for a refund using the Request for Refund form 

A copy of the Refund Agreement was attached to your Offer/Acceptance pack. Please review it before applying for a refund.

How to apply for Release

As per the WSU International Student Transfer Procedure and ESOS National Code 2018 Standard 7, an overseas  student can transfer to another provider without release after completing six calendar months of the principal course.

Student Visa holding international students who have

  • accepted an offer from Western Sydney University,
  • have been granted a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and
  • wish to change education provider within the first six months of commencing their principal study program must submit the following documents:
  1. A written statement detailing the compelling reasons for transferring to an alternate program/course and education provider and a detailed explanation of how you will benefit from the transfer.
  2. Evidence of compassionate or compelling circumstances beyond your control which emerged after accepting the current offer from Western Sydney University.
  3. A copy of the offer letter from the other institution confirming that you have been offered an unconditional place at the institution.

Please note that if you are a student studying at the International College, Sydney City Campus, or Graduate Research School you should not complete the WesternNow form.

All other students must apply for Release using the Release from Program form in WesternNow and upload required supporting documentation.

If you have not commenced your course at Western Sydney University and you are requiring release, please contact International Admissions via WesternNow.

How to apply for a transfer to another WSU course

If you want to transfer to a new program at Western Sydney University you will need to submit a request using the International Program Transfer application in WesternNow. Requests to transfer program will require approval from the Director of Academic Program of the new program.

If your request is approved:

  • you will receive a new offer letter from the International Admissions Team
  • once you have signed and accepted your offer, an updated CoE will be issued by Student Services Hub

Further information is available on the Transferring to a new program page and in the Program Transfer Policy. Check the Western Sydney University Handbook to ensure you have met the admission requirements into the requested program.

Please note that if you are a student studying at the International College, Sydney City Campus, or Graduate Research School you should not complete the WesternNow form.

Do not submit application until you have received your results for the previous semester.

How to apply for a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)

If you need more time to complete your program, you may need to apply for a new student visa. Student Services Hub (SSH) can assist you by issuing you a new Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).

To issue you a new CoE, you will need a new study plan and program end date from your Academic Program Advisor (APA) or Director of Academic Program (DAP). This is required so SSH can determine the length of your new CoE. If you are unsure who is your APA or DAP, you can contact your School or lookup your program's Handbook entry which includes these contact details.

If you have any questions about the application process, you can contact Student Services Hub on 1300 668 370 (+61 2 9852 5656 if outside Australia) or send an email.

You can apply for a Confirmation of Enrolment on WesternNow here.