1. Background and context
The ESOS Act 2000 (opens an external site) and Part B, Standard 10 of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (opens an external site) outline the framework for managing the complaints handling and appeals process for international students.
2. Purpose and scope
This Procedure outlines the complaints and appeals process for international students relating to the quality/ adequacy/ relevance of a service or course delivered by UTS including UTS’s registered education agents and any related party UTS has an arrangement with to deliver the course or related services.
This Procedure supplements the UTS Policy on Handling Student Complaints (the Policy).
Complaints and appeals processes relating to academic and progression decisions are covered by the Coursework Assessments Policy and UTS Student Rules. Processes for complaints and appeals in relation to release requests are covered by the UTS Release Protocol.
Appeal is a formal opportunity for a student to have a decision (academic or administrative) reconsidered by the University.
Complaint as defined by the UTS Policy on Handling Student Complaints.
Enrolled Student has the same meaning as the definition of “student” in the UTS Student Rules.
Non-Enrolled Student refers to a student who is not currently enrolled or has completed their studies.
NSW Ombudsman refers to an external independent office that examines the fairness and transparency around the conduct of public universities in New South Wales. The office’s role is to make recommendations that promote fairness, integrity and practical reforms. Additional information can be found on the NSW Ombudsman’s website (opens an external site).
Support Person refers to a person who accompanies a party to a dispute resolution meeting (e.g. a carer/ family member or friend) and who is over the age of 18.
UTS Student Ombud refers to a free service provided by UTS assigned to investigate complaints from students who have a grievance related to administrative decisions.
4. Lodging a complaint and/ or appeal
4.1. UTS provides students with comprehensive, free and easily accessible information about its complaints and appeals handling processes through the Letter of Offer, orientation program, student support services and website.
4.2. In line with the Policy students are encouraged to raise any complaints directly with the person/ department concerned. If the complaint is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student may lodge a formal complaint.
4.3. Students have the right to lodge a formal complaint or appeal at no cost by writing to the appropriate UTS unit/ division, as directed by the Policy.
4.4. If a meeting is held to discuss/ resolve the complaint, the students may be accompanied and assisted by a Support Person at any relevant meetings in line with the Policy.
4.5. For personal and counselling support during the complaint processes students can contact the UTS Counselling service. UTS Counselling may assist with confidential and personal issues in line with the Policy.
5. Internal review
5.1. UTS will commence assessment of the complaint or appeal within ten (10) working days of it being made and finalise the outcome as soon as practicable.
5.2. A complaint or appeal will be investigated and resolved in accordance with the provisions of the Policy.
5.3. Complainants will be advised of the proposed timeframe for resolution and will be kept informed of the progress of the matter.
5.4. UTS will ensure a written statement of the outcome of an internal complaint or appeal is provided to the student, which will include detailed reason(s) for the outcome.
5.5. Where a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint the student may seek an internal appeal. An appeal must be lodged by a student to UTS within twenty (20) working days after receiving the outcome of a complaint.
5.6. UTS will ensure that the appeal is assessed by a staff member at a higher level who was not directly involved in the original complaint resolution and/ or decision-making.
5.7. International students who are enrolled must maintain their enrolment status until the internal complaint/ appeals handling process is finalised.
5.8. If a student is unhappy with the outcome of the internal appeals process the student may refer their case to the Office of the UTS Student Ombud if their complaint relates to administrative or some academic decisions.
6. External review
6.1. After completion of the internal appeals process and where the outcome is not in favour of the student, UTS will inform the student, within 10 working days, that they have the right to access an external complaints handling and appeals process. For further details, see point 7 below.
6.2. If the student wishes to access an external body, they must lodge the complaint within 10 working days after receiving the outcome of an internal appeal. The student must notify UTS if they lodge an external appeal. Failure to do so may impact their enrolment and visa.
6.3. External bodies typically examine maladministration on part of a university and cannot order a university to take certain action or change a decision. Additionally, external bodies may require a student to have accessed a university’s internal complaint/ appeal process before they become involved.
6.4. If the external appeal process results in a decision or recommendation in favour of the student, UTS will implement any process improvements recommended and advise the student of that action.
7. Internal/ External bodies
UTS Student Ombudsman
Address: Level 3, 755 Harris Street, Broadway, Sydney NSW 2007
Phone: 02 9514 2575
Address: Level 24, 580 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 02 9286 1000 or 1800 451 524
8. Relationship to other UTS policies
This Procedure does not override the established administrative or appeal procedures which would normally be followed in relation to academic matters, for example appeals against assessment grades, exclusion, etc.
9. Process summary
Student has a complaint
- Student accesses the UTS Policy on Handling Student Complaints and understands the process.
Stage 1: Informal complaint
Student raises a complaint informally by speaking directly to the person or service provider.
- An informal complaint can be made verbally and where possible UTS will endeavour to resolve it at the time the complaint is raised.
Stage 2: Make a formal complaint
If the student remains dissatisfied they may make a formal complaint in writing to the appropriate UTS staff member.
Staff will commence review of a formal complaint within 10 working days and will respond in writing detailing the outcome and reasons for the decision.
- Students are able to be assisted or accompanied by a Support Person at any stage of the process or at any relevant meetings.
Stage 3: Make an internal appeal
A student may choose to appeal if they are dissatisfied with the outcome of their complaint. An appeal must be made within 20 working days after receiving the outcome from UTS.
Staff will commence review of a formal appeal within 10 working days and will respond in writing detailing the outcome and reasons for the decision.
Students are able to be assisted or accompanied by a Support Person at any stage of the process or at any relevant meetings.
Stage 4: Refer a complaint to the UTS Student Ombud (only for enrolled students)
- Where a student remains dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint and has exhausted all avenues of the internal complaints and appeal processes, they may escalate their complaint to the UTS Student Ombud.
Stage 5: External review by NSW Ombudsman
Where a student remains dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint and/ or appeal they may seek external review by lodging a complaint with the NSW Ombudsman.
Stage 6: Implementation of Improvement
If the internal or any external complaints handling or appeals process results in a decision or recommendation in favour of the student, UTS will immediately notify the student and implement any recommended process improvements.