For our international students, we know that these are uncertain times. If you have already arrived in Melbourne, we understand the challenges you face living away from your family, friends and community, particularly at times like these.

The Victoria University (VU) community is here to support you and we encourage you to access all of the services available to you. For those of you who had planned to arrive in Melbourne but now find yourself studying remotely, please be assured that we are working to ensure that the impacts on you and your study plans are minimal.

2020 intakes: New students

Yes, you can start your course online using digitally supported remote (DSR) learning. This applies to all international students starting VU courses in Semester 2 and Trimester 3, 2020. DSR learning is available for these study periods, even if face-to-face teaching resumes in Melbourne. You need to accept your offer and enrol in your course to have access to DSR learning. To accept your offer, you must pay a 50% deposit, with the balance due before the course census date.

Digitally supported remote (DSR) learning maintains a classroom environment using Zoom or Webex. It allows you to take part in group discussions, interact with classmates and get immediate feedback. There is a small number of students in each virtual classroom.

Classes are delivered within standard Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) teaching times. We aim to schedule DSR classes for offshore students later in the day, to minimise the impact of time differences. Make sure you have access to a computer/laptop with a reliable internet connection.

All courses for which you can apply for Semester 2, 2020 are available for digitally supported remote (DSR) learning. If you have already received an offer, you will be able to commence your studies by DSR learning.

VU will provide DSR learning for the remainder of 2020. This includes ELICOS, VET, undergraduate and postgraduate (coursework) courses. Students will be expected to attend classes from Semester 1, 2021. VU cannot commit to providing DSR learning in 2021 at this stage, except for Bachelor of Business, which will be available for DSR learning in Semester 1, 2021, even if face-to-face teaching is available for students in Melbourne.

VU is offering a new scholarship for commencing international students – the VU COVID-19 International Scholarship. It acknowledges the impact COVID-19 is having on students and their families. It is valued at up to A$6,000 for up to two semesters of study.

All new students starting an undergraduate or postgraduate (coursework) course with VU Melbourne in Semester 2 or Trimester 3, 2020 are eligible. This includes international students already in Australia, international students currently in other countries, international students at VU-partnered universities and commencing students on a pathway from one VU course to another VU course.

You do not need to apply. You will be automatically assessed after submitting your application.

Undergraduate students must enrol in 48 credit points (full-time study) each semester unless unit availability does not allow them to do so to be eligible for the VU International COVID-19 Scholarship. Postgraduate (coursework) students enrolling in a reduced study load will be eligible to receive a reduced amount, based on the number of units taken (pro-rata).

If you receive the VU COVID-19 International Scholarship, you will be assessed for the VU International Excellence Scholarship after your first two study periods. The total value of these two scholarships is up to A$15,000 for a four-year undergraduate degree.

You do not need to arrange OSHC for remote learning but you must have OSHC to obtain a student visa, so you must organise OSHC to accept your offer. You will be able to apply for an OSHC refund once you arrive in Australia for the DSR learning period.

You will receive a refund in line with the University’s standard international student refund policy, depending on how long you have studied.

No. If you remain enrolled with VU, and the assessment requirements of the course allow it, your location and the mode of delivery is not an impediment to achieving an Australian qualification. VU will ensure that assessment and quality standards are maintained.

Your visa & Confirmation of Enrolment

No. The change in course delivery from face-to-face to DSR learning does not affect compliance with your visa conditions or your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).

No, you don’t need to change your enrolment. However, if you decide to travel home, you may not be able to return to Australia when face-to-face learning resumes if current travel restrictions are still in place.

We will work with you to find the best study plan for your course. If we need to revise plans, we will provide you with a new electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) that contains your revised study dates.

Yes, you have the option of studying during our summer and winter terms, subject to unit availability.

The University is seeking to minimise the impact of the global situation on students as much as it can. You will be advised about 2021 course fees in the coming months.

If you are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on your studies, you should speak to one of our International Student Advisors. They will be able to identify ways the University may be able to assist you.

If you have not started your studies at VU and wish to delay your commencement, you should defer. If you have already undertaken units at VU and wish to suspend your studies, you should apply for a leave of absence. Please note that being granted a leave of absence may affect your student visa, and only a limited range of approved grounds will be accepted.

You can defer your studies for up to one year. You need to apply and have the application approved to be granted a deferral. If you have started studying but need to take some time off, you may be able to defer if you are a new student and you apply before the census date.

If you defer, VU is required to notify the Department of Home Affairs. You may be able to remain in Australia or travel overseas if you have deferred your course for compassionate and compelling reasons and remain enrolled. More information is available on the Department of Home Affairs website.

If you are applying for deferment or leave of absence for 6 to 12 months due to the coronavirus travel ban, your CoE (Confirmation of Enrolment) can be extended.

The CoE extension can then be used to apply for a visa extension which you can obtain via the Department of Home Affairs.

Apply using the CoE extension form.

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Financial support

Commencing international students are only required to pay a 50% deposit to accept offers for full degree offers and ELICOS packages, with the balance payable before commencement (but students can pay the full deposit if they wish to). A full deposit is still required for individual ELICOS courses.

Yes, VU has established a COVID-19 Student Support Fund for students studying in Australia in both higher education and vocational education. Allianz Global Assistance, who is our preferred Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) provider has kindly donated $35,000 to the fund.

The fund offers one-off grants to eligible students. The following grants are available:

  • An emergency financial grant for students impacted by self-isolation or quarantine requirements or job losses. This grant is for essential living or study expenses related to food, healthcare, textbooks and study materials (not technology) up to the value of $100.
  • A technology grant to support students in pursuing studies that have transitioned to digital platforms (e.g. voucher to support the purchase of a WiFi dongle) up to the value of $100.
  • Crisis housing support for students who have encountered hardship as a result of the loss of paid employment. Rental assistance grants are available up to the value of $500.

You may also be eligible for the International Student Emergency Relief Fund.

The Victorian Government has announced a $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund for international students facing financial hardship. If you are an international student in Victoria experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for support up to the value of $500.

International students currently studying at VU can apply for a grant. Victoria University will co-contribute funds to the same value if your application is successful and these funds have not already been awarded via the COVID-19 Student Support Fund.

Find out more about your eligibility and how to apply.

Explain your situation to your landlord and offer to pay a reduced amount. The State Government is encouraging short-term agreements and is putting evictions on hold for six months. More information is available on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

Rent relief offers assistance to eligible Victorians who are experiencing rental hardship due to COVID-19. You can also access free mediation services.

You can also make an appointment with one of the lawyers at the International Student Work Rights and Accommodation Legal Service, who provide free and confidential legal advice by emailing the Study Melbourne Student Centre at [email protected].

If you are struggling to pay your expenses, please explain your situation to VU’s International Student Advisors. Students who are experiencing financial difficulties may apply for a VU interest-free loan up to $500.

Students are encouraged to look at MoneySmart, where you will find tips and information to assist you. It has a special section on COVID-19-related issues.

You are required to submit a formal application to apply for a refund, and you must meet VU’s eligibility requirements to receive a refund. The requirements applicable to you are contained in your Written Agreement (Letter of Offer) that you signed to accept your offer of study.

International students who have been in Australia for more than 12 months, have been working, and who find themselves in financial hardship may be able to access their Australian superannuation. Applications for the early release of superannuation will be accepted through the myGov website from 20 April.

Support services

General support

Our International Student Advisors can assist you with support services for your welfare and wellbeing and help you find access to other local support services.

Appointments are currently by phone only. You can book an appointment or email the team who will get back to you as quickly as possible.

A dedicated online COVID-19 support hub is available on the Study Melbourne website. You can access current and accurate information and connect to relevant resources and assistance.

Employment support

The Study Melbourne Student Centre provides employment support, including information to apply for the Working for Victoria program. This program provides employment opportunities, free resume checking and employment webinars.

You can also make an appointment with one of the lawyers at the International Student Work Rights Legal Service by emailing the Study Melbourne Student Centre at [email protected].

For students wanting to access COVID-19 information in languages other than English, see the Australian Department of Health translated resources

There is also a large range of translated COVID-19 resources on SBS, a TV and radio service.

The Insider Guides COVID-19 Resource Hub has a list of resources for international students.

A dedicated Government email and phone line have been set up for international students:

COVID-19 information in your language

International student information

International Student Resources on Insider Guides COVID-19 Resource Hub