Legislative requirements relating to international students

Staff who interact directly with international students must be aware of ACU's responsibilities under the Educational Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 and the accompanying National Code.

The following matters are important.         

Course duration

International students must complete their course within the minimum duration as specified on their Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) issued by ACU International. CoEs are issued for the minimum course duration taking into account any significant credit granted for prior studies.

Extensions of duration may only be granted in the following cases:

  • compassionate and compelling circumstances (which must be documented)
  • where a documented intervention strategy has been implemented
  • approval has been granted for a deferment or suspension of studies.
Study load

International students located within Australia are required to enrol in a minimum of four units of study, with at least one of them being a face-to-face unit, in each compulsory session (ie, Semester 1 and Semester 2).  

A reduced study load may be approved by course coordinators. However, since international students are required to complete their studies within the minimum duration, a study plan must be in place considering future units of study offered by ACU in Summer or Winter Terms or cross-institutionally.

Online studies

International students located within Australia may take up to one-third of their total course load by online/distance education.


Universities are exempt from the requirement to keep attendance records for international students. This exemption does not extend to international students enrolled in vocational and ELICOS programs.

Interruption to study

International students seeking an Interruption to Study (Leave of Absence) should be advised to discuss their decision with staff of ACU International prior to withdrawing from units. In most cases, a student will be required to depart Australia for the duration of the leave and may need to reapply for a student visa to re-enter Australia after the period of leave has expired.

Staff with any concerns or questions are welcome to email ACU International for advice.


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