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 online, please be assured that we are working to ensure that the impacts on you and your study plans are minimal.

New student intakes

Yes, you may be able to start your course by online real-time (ORT) learning. This applies to international students outside Australia starting some VU courses in 2021/22, even if in-person learning is available for international students in Melbourne.

You need to accept your offer and enrol in your course to have access to ORT learning. To accept your offer, you must pay a minimum 50% deposit, with the balance due before the course census date.

Online real-time (ORT) learning maintains a classroom environment using Zoom. 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 ORT 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. ORT was formally known as Digitally supported remote (DSR) learning.

Students studying outside Australia

While the Australian borders remained closed, we are offering a number of courses via ORT learning in Semester 2, 2021. This will enable you to start your course in your home country and complete your qualification in Melbourne as soon as it is safe to do so. If you are an offshore student applying for a course not available by ORT learning, you will receive an offer for the next available intake or for an alternative course (if available).

Here are the courses available via ORT learning in Semester 2, 2021:

College of Engineering & Science
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Architectural Engineering)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Civil Engineering)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Electrical and Electronic Engineering)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Bachelor of Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Information Technology (Professional)
  • Bachelor of Cyber Security
  • Graduate Certificate in Artificial Intelligence
  • Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security
  • Graduate Diploma in Cyber Security
  • Graduate Diploma in Project Management
  • Master of Engineering
  • Master of Project Management
  • Master of Applied Information Technology
College of Health & Biomedicine
  • Master of Public Health (Global Nutrition and Active Living)
College of Sport & Exercise Science
  • Bachelor of Sport Management
  • Bachelor of Sport Management/Bachelor of Business
  • Master of Sport Business
VU Business School
  • Bachelor of Business
  • Master of Business Administration (Global)
  • Master of Professional Accounting
  • Master of Business Analytics
  • Master of Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Master of Supply Chain Management
VU College
  • Diploma of Business (Enterprise)
  • Diploma of Engineering
  • Diploma of Information Technology
  • English language studies (ELICOS)
  • International Foundations at VU
  • International Foundations at VU (Extended)

ORT learning will not be available for vocational education and training (VET) courses to students outside of Australia.

Students studying inside Australia

For international students inside Australia, the University is currently offering online real-time learning across our comprehensive course range. The University will return to on-campus, in-person learning once local restrictions are eased.

At this stage, VU cannot commit to ORT learning beyond Semester 2, 2021. Students are expected to attend classes in Melbourne in Semester 1, 2022, subject to future Australian Government travel advice. 

VU is offering a new scholarship for commencing international students – the VU Future Leaders Scholarship (International), which supports new international students who plan to commence their undergraduate or postgraduate (coursework) studies in 2021. The scholarship provides 20% off the first two semesters’ tuition fee. Upon successful completion of two semesters, students will be assessed for an extension of the scholarship based on academic performance. This is valued at 10% off the tuition fee per semester for the remainder of their studies. 

Students will be required to confirm that they wish to be considered for the scholarship at the time they submit their application for admission into an eligible VU qualification. Scholarship eligibility can only be assessed after the student has met the course entry requirements.

You must have OSHC to obtain a student visa, so you must organise OSHC to accept your offer, even if you are starting your studies from outside of Australia. You will be able to apply for an OSHC refund once you arrive in Australia for the period you spent studying outside of Australia.

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 in-person to online real-time 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 2022 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 Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) 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. You won’t be charged a fee if you apply to extend your student visa.

Apply using the CoE extension form.

Yes. The Department of Home Affairs has recommenced granting student visas lodged outside of Australia. This means that when the current travel restrictions are lifted, you will already have your visa and be able to make arrangements to travel to Australia.

If you hold an international student visa and are studying outside of Australia using ORT learning due to COVID-19, your studies may count towards the Australian study requirement for a post-study work visa. Please check the Department of Home Affairs website for the requirements to ensure that your studies count.

If you are a graduate who held an international student visa, you are also eligible to apply for a post-study work visa outside of Australia if you are unable to return due to COVID-19 and have met the requirements for one. Please check the Department of Home Affairs website for details.

Yes. The Department of Home Affairs will allow extra time for students to provide English language results where COVID-19 has disrupted access to these services. Please check the Department of Home Affairs website for details.

Eligible students can now apply for a student visa with a nil visa application charge (VAC) if they have been unable to complete their studies within their original visa validity due to COVID-19. Refunds are not available for students who have already applied for a student visa and only new applications from eligible students will attract a nil-VAC (VAC free).

If you held a student visa on or after 1 February 2020 and have been unable to complete your course within your original visa validity due to COVID-19, you can apply online with a nil-VAC through ImmiAccount.

The Department of Home Affairs has provided a nil-VAC application process help sheet to assist you.

To submit a valid student visa application with a nil VAC, you must provide a completed 1545 COVID-19 Impacted Student form signed by the enrolment team at VU, along with your student visa application. You can be in or outside Australia when you apply.

Further details on the student visa measures can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.

If you have a question regarding the processing of nil-VAC student visa applications, contact [email protected].

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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.

To alleviate some of the financial worries that international students have experienced and to support international student study success, we have moved from a biannual to a quarterly billing cycle for international student tuition fees in 2021 making payments more manageable over the whole year.

All VU International Student Support funds are now closed. Please see the International Student Emergency Relief Fund for possible government-funded support options.


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.

In response to the lockdown being extended on 3 June 2021, the Australian federal government has announced that anyone who lost work in greater Melbourne over the next week is eligible to access the temporary COVID disaster payment, including international students. Eligible international students can get up to $500 in COVID payments.

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