Are you being forced to go to another university? A guide to helping students to move

The lengthy closure of Australia’s sole university has been put into perspective for expats and students by the personal testimonies of two experts.

William Abbe, a senior lecturer at Queensland University of Technology and an international migration specialist, explained how the university could reopen within months, while it’s course results are finalized.

The problem

Queensland University of Technology officially announced on 30 March that it would be closing its doors and all of its students were advised to transfer to other Australian universities.

At least 3,000 students – the majority of whom were from India – were left without a university to which they could transfer and had signed contracts that stipulated their studies could not be transferred, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The student has to have a university degree to be eligible for financial aid and academic career mentoring in Australia

A quick move to the nearby University of the Sunshine Coast and the University of the South Pacific, located 15 miles away, will suffice for the vast majority. The remaining 10,000 university students will have to find new schools to pursue their studies, a decision some would welcome in the short term, however to gain the academic credentials that the government requires to be eligible for financial aid and career mentoring services in Australia, students will have to abandon the academic course they have been enrolled in and use their online portfolio (done online) at the ‘new’ institution.

In order to be eligible for funding or career support, a university degree is required for both academic and career advancement reasons. “To gain access to our programs for this academic year, applicants must have a university degree,” the chief executive of the Queensland University of Technology, Dr. Judy Villar Rangel, told Livemint.

“Although our current courses are being offered at UTS, students must be a degree-holding student and therefore be enrolled on one of our three degree programs.

“This is not compulsory as some students may be forced to take additional courses.

“We understand that some of our students may find it extremely difficult to move to another campus and transfer to a different course, so we would encourage them to consider the Queensland University of Technology, with courses being taught on campus and in their home languages.”

The university is facing a bill of €2.2 million to settle the difference in student assessments between Queensland University of Technology and another university that offered similar degree courses.

“Under the terms of the agreement the Queensland University of Technology has secured a commitment of €2.2 million from the University of the Sunshine Coast over the next three years,” said Dr. Judy Rangel.

In view of the shortage of students willing to pay the fees for international education, universities have been advised to go fully international to generate income.

Negotiations regarding potential agreements between the universities must be agreed on, a process that must be facilitated and monitored by the government for as long as it is approved by parliament.

The timeline

With each of these pieces of work taking time, there’s no certainty as to when students will be able to enrol at their new university.

“The relevant agencies working with the affected students are doing the best they can to assist them.

“The Queensland Government has initiated negotiations with another university for the next year and we are hopeful that some students will be able to move to UTS for the 2018/19 academic year.

“The NSW Government is now working on an interim arrangement with UTS.

“At the end of this process the Queensland Government will announce the review panel that will help determine what systems and processes will be in place to determine eligibility of students who wish to continue their study at UTS.”

How do you know whether your studies can be transferred to another Australian university?

You may qualify for eligible student status if:

you do not have a university degree,

you are returning to study (provided your studies commenced before 24 March 2018), and

you intend to go back to study (with UTS at your new campus).

If you do not qualify for eligible student status, but wish to continue your studies, you may apply to UTS (at the new campus) or move to UTS (at your new campus).

Note: You may also be able to complete your course at a different Australian university and continue your study.

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