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Australian Education

Australia has emerged as a popular destination for higher education because of its strong educational infrastructure, a high quality of life, and relatively lower expenses.

Australian degrees are gaining increased acceptance in the global arena, particularly in the Pacific rim countries. A peaceful and relaxed atmosphere, together with the cosmopolitan charisma of cities like Sydney and Melbourne – Australia could be the ideal destination for you.

Australian Education System

Australian Qualifications Frameworks

The figure below shows the Australian qualifications framework.

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  Doctoral Degree
  Masters Degree

  Honours Year
Graduate Diploma
Graduate Certificate
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Bachelor Degree
 
Advanced Diploma
Diploma
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  Senior Secondary Certificate of
  Education (10+2)
<--->
Certificates I - IV
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Secondary School Education ( 10 years)

International Students Issues

This section discusses the various issues faced by international students applying to the Australia for education. We discuss here eligibility criteria for Australian institutes, accommodation, health insurance and rules for taking up employment while studying.


  Eligibility                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ^ TOP

Undergraduate (Bachelor Level)

The two main points (besides English Language requirements) to be considered before applying to any course in a university :

1. Australian Year 12 Qualification and Equivalents
    (12 years of schooling)


The Australian education system is based upon 13 years of school level education (i.e. primary plus secondary). Each state in Australia has its own secondary school certificate. While these certificates have different names, they all require an equivalent standard of education and can be referred to generally as Australian Year 12 qualifications. All Australian universities recognize the various Year 12 qualifications from different states. The universities also recognize a wide range of secondary school certificates from other countries as being equivalent to the Australian Year 12 qualifications. Specifically, successful completion of class 10+2 from India.

2. Pre-requisite Subjects

Some courses specify 'pre-requisite subjects'. This means that students must have passed this subject as part of their entry qualification; this is because the first year subjects of the course assume that students have a good basic knowledge of this subject at Australian Year 12 level. Pre-requisite subjects vary from course to course. For instance, a Bachelor of Arts degree might have no pre-requisite; a Bachelor of Commerce might require general Mathematics and Bachelor of Engineering may require advanced Mathematics/Calculus. Some courses, especially in art and design, also require students to submit folios of their work with their applications.

Post Graduate (Master's & Doctorate level)

Masters degree and Graduate diploma: Most Australian universities accept the Indian graduation system of three years for entry into postgraduate courses. However, entry to postgraduate programs is competitive and often complex. For most Universities, a good first degree from a leading university in India or its equivalent is essential.

PhD and Postgraduate diploma: For Postgraduate diploma, the student should have a recognized master degree in an appropriate field. For PhD, though each application is assessed on individual basis, a good master degree is essential.

  Working in Australia                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ^ TOP      

International students at the higher education level can work on a casual basis (upto 20 hours a week) during course time and full time during vacation periods, provided this does not interfere with their study program.

Universities and TAFE institutions have a Careers Office, which regularly posts employment vacancies.

Before gaining paid part-time employment, you must lodge an application for a ‘student visa with permission to work' with the Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA). You can only do this once you have started your course in Australia. 

  Accomodation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ^ TOP

There is a wide range of student accommodation available in Australia. These include university halls of residence, university apartments for post graduate students and privately rented independent housing. Students can also arrange a 'Homestay' with a local family or board at many of the private secondary schools. Once you get an admission, the university's international office would help you find a suitable accommodation. Various options:

1. Homestay or farmstay
Institutions maintain a register of families prepared to board international students during the academic year. Meals are usually included in the cost. Single or shared rooms may be offered. , and the cost will vary accordingly. Homestay is popular with younger students  and those studying short term English courses. Farmstay offers the same services in a rural setup.

Educational institutions ensure that homestay families are reputable, and that they offer accommodation of a reasonable standard. This type of accommodation gives international students access to the Australian lifestyle in a natural and friendly way. Students are often treated like members of the family.
Approx. Cost : A$ 150 - A$ 200 per week

2. Private Board
Private board is similar to homestay. Students negotiate personally with the landlord about the standard of accommodation and meals they require.
Approx. Cost :  A$ 50 - A$ 150 per week
(depending on the services provided)

3. Hostels and Guest Houses
Hostels are usually run by organisations such as youth Hostels Australia, the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) and Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). Students share kitchen and bathroom facilities.
Approx. Cost :   A$ 80 - A$ 120 per week

4. Share and Rental Accommodation
Students often share accommodation with fellow students. They advertise on student notice boards and in the classified section of newspapers. All members of the household are responsible for cooking and cleaning. Students may have to provide their own furniture.
Approx. Cost :   A$ 70 - A$ 150 per week

5. University Apartments
Postgraduate and married students have access to this type of self contained, fully furnished accommodation within the university system.
Approx. Cost : A$ 130 - A$ 215 per week

6. University Residential Colleges
Residential Colleges provide accommodation with meal. They are slightly more expensive than university Halls of Residence The college undertakes cleaning and household tasks. Sporting and social facilities, tutoring, libraries and generally computer access are also provided.
Approx. Cost :   A$ 150 - A$ 250 per week

7. Halls of Residence:
Halls of residence are located on or near university campuses and are generally cheaper than residential colleges. International students find them an attractive option. Students usually have meals and some cleaning services provided. Only full time students are accepted. Students need to apply early because of the high demand for places.
Approx. Cost : A$ 100 - A$ 150 per week

  Health Care                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ^ TOP

It is a requirement of the Australian Government that international students register for the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) before coming to Australia.

OSHC helps pay for medical and hospital care you may need while in Australia. The OSHC rates for a 12-month stay are $ 274 for a single premium and $ 548 for a family premium.

OSHC is available from Medibank Private, Australia's largest private health insurer, Medibank Private has many business service centres around Australia, which provide fast and convenient service.

Australian Student Visa

Your pre-visa application will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria :

1. Evidence of Enrolment

One of the important requirements for a student visa application is that you must be accepted for enrolment, to undertake a course, by a Government registered Australian education institution. This is verified by the advice of acceptance from the Australian institution (commonly known as Letter of Offer), which is issued to a student who has been offered enrolment in a full-time course. You should not pay any part of the course tuition fee prior to the outcome of the PVA.

2. Financial Ability

Sponsor/s will have to provide documentary evidence of having cash assets ( immediately encashable assets like savings and fixed deposits in banks) held for atleast 6 months prior to the pre-visa application date. For school applicants, funds need to be held for 3 months prior to the pre-visa application date.

Who can be a Sponsor?

Sponsor/s can be the applicant, parents, grandparents, or spouse only ( relatives like brother /sister /uncle /aunt /cousin / family friend are not acceptable). School applicants have no restriction on sponsor/s.

How much funds have to be shown?

For Masters and Doctorate Courses
Sponsors must provide evidence of cash assets for the first year tuition fee (as on the letter of offer) and living expenses (assumed at A$ 12000 p.a.) and access to additional funds (from acceptable sources) to meet the cost of the remainder of study and stay in Australia.

Commercial loans from Banks and government loans are acceptable.

In case the applicant holds a partial scholarship from an Australian institution or an institution in India ( eg. Educational Trusts), funds to cover the remaining costs must be provided as prescribed above.

Private corporate sponsorship is acceptable subject to certain conditions. However if the company is a family owned business and if one/both parents are directors/partners, it is treated as a parent sponsor.

Students with Dependants (Spouse/Children)
Costs could be expected to increase by atleast 35% if the student has a spouse, a further 20% (plus A$ 8000 p.a. for school fees if the child is 5 years or older) if the student has one child, a further 15% for each additional child plus school fees. The above amounts apply irrespective of whether they will accompany the applicant. Individual return travel costs need to be taken at A $ 1500 approx.

For Vocational Education and Training (VET), TAFE, Higher Education and School courses
Sponsors must provide evidence of cash assets covering tuition fee and living expenses of the entire duration of the proposed and pre-requisite course (including foundation/ELICOS/Bridging program that precedes the main course).

3. English Proficiency

All students have to demonstrate a minimum level of proficiency, measured by an IELTS overall band score of atleast 6.0, except those enrolling for a Diploma course (VET) in which case 5.5 is acceptable. Please note that TOEFL score is not acceptable and IELTS is compulsory even if the student has studied in English medium institutions throughout his/her academic career.

4. Potential to breach visa conditions

This is an assessment of an individual's current circumstances done by the visa officer by reviewing for example, the situation in your home country - your personal and financial commitments that may prompt you to return to your home country.

5. Other Relevant Matters

These include :

•  Immigration links with Australia

•   Usefulness of course for career development

•   Satisfactory completion of year 12 / relevant undergraduate degree or equivalent.

•   Strong links have to be established between past academic/work background and study goals.

•   Guardianship arrangements (if applicant is under 18 at the time of PVA application)


6. Further Processing

If you are advised that you meet the PVA requirements, you will be asked to undergo further processing. This includes payment of course tuition fee to the Australian educational institution and a medical examination. It is essential that the student and the accompanying dependent(s) meet the Australian Health requirements before a visa may be granted. This involves a medical check and an x-ray for applicants over 16. Applicants will need to present an original valid passport to identify themselves to the Doctor and Radiologist. In some cases medical results will be referred to Australia and as this process takes 3 - 4 weeks, applicants will need to allow additional time. Usually only medicals where the doctor or radiologist has detected an abnormality will be referred to Australia. Applicants need to take into account postage or courier times also.

7.  Total processing time

As a general rule, applicants should allow a four (4) to six (6) week timeframe for processing of applications.

Factors that may delay this processing time include :

•   Medical referral to Australia and the need for any subsequent medical tests;

•   Document verification including educational documents, employment references and bank statements; and

•   Applications which are incomplete and require the visa office to make contact with the applicant or the applicant's agent.

8.  Health Insurance

It is compulsory for all international students to have Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) for themselves and their dependents, where applicable, for the duration of the visa. The. premium for. OSHC is only to be paid once the PVA requirements have been met. The current premiums for OSHC are AUD274 for a single person and AIJD54S for a whole family.

9.  Re-entry into Australia

All Student Visas have a multiple entry facility for the full period of the visa. Students who plan to travel out of, and return to, Australia at any time during their course are advised to check that their visa is valid for return to Australia.

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