About the case

A parent of an international school student contacted iStudent Complaints as the parent had had their visa application declined and they needed to return to their home country. The student still had a valid visa and would have been able to remain in New Zealand if they stayed with a host family. The family chose to return to their home country together, as they did not want to leave their child in New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

They made an application for the remaining two terms to be refunded by the school. The school’s response was that they would receive one terms refund as they had not provided the school with the necessary notification period to gain a greater refund as stipulated in the school’s refund policy. The parent felt that this was harsh as they had given the school as many weeks’ notice as they could, and that it was a decision made by New Zealand Immigration. The school felt they had an appropriate policy and wanted to be fair to all parents at their school. 

How we helped

A Resolution Facilitator received the enquiry from the parent and explained the iStudent Complaint process, and how the parent needed to provide the school with an opportunity to respond to their complaint before iStudent Complaint could become involved. At the parent’s request iStudent Complaints made the school aware of the enquiry.

The two parties commenced their negotiations with support provided by the iStudent Complaints facilitator. In addition to providing information on the process this support also included assisting the parent and school to explore each other’s perspective and reality testing options. iStudent Complaints encouraged them to explore the matter through facilitative questions - What were the terms of the refund policy? What were the costs of continuing this dispute for both parties? What were the needs of each party, and what might an agreement look like that met both of their needs? 


An agreement was reached between the school and family at facilitation, and the case was closed.