About the case

The student contacted the iStudent Complaints team to raise an issue regarding a refund of their tuition fees. The student had enrolled in an eight-month long Diploma program. Due to the student's financial situation, the school had allowed the student to pay the full tuition fee in two installments instead of their usual one payment. The student paid the first installment and successfully attended class and completed the assignments.

As the second installment approached, the student realised that they did not have the financial means to pay the second installment on time and asked the provider for an extension. The provider informed the student that they could provide a two-week extension, but if the payment was not completed before then the student would not be able to attend classes and would have to defer their studies by a semester.

The student managed to pay the second installment within the extension period but did not show up to classes following this payment. After a week, the student informed the provider that they would like to withdraw and to have the second installment refunded to them.

The student argued that they had withdrawn within the refund period of the second half of their studies and should be entitled to a full refund for the second half. The provider argued that the course was not divided into two parts, it was a singular unified program and therefore the refund period only applied at the beginning of the studies. The fact that they had allowed this student to pay in two installments did not mean that the refund period was renewed with the second installment.

How we helped

iStudent Complaints collated relevant documents from both parties and facilitated a discussion between the student and the provider. The Resolution Coordinator helped identify misunderstandings and helped the parties clarify their concerns. As a result of the facilitated discussion, the provider offered the student an option to defer their studies to a later date if being enrolled currently was an issue. The student elected to have the issue escalated to adjudication. The Resolution Coordinator helped the parties submit evidence and engaged with the adjudicator and parties where further submissions were required.


The adjudicator did not uphold the student's complaint. The decision favored the provider's argument that the refund period did not apply to the extraordinary second installment but only to the payment at the beginning of the entire diploma program. They determined that the student was not entitled to a refund of half of the fees. The offer from the provider to defer studies was, however, still available to the student but was not accepted.