About the case

A student from Asia enrolled with a Private Training Establishment in 2020. She commenced her studies just as the COVID-19 alert level allowed her provider to reopen.

The student needed to use public transport to get to the education provider and followed NZ Government recommendations about keeping safe in the pandemic but was still feeling anxious about being exposed to the virus and getting sick. The provider undertook all the precautions necessary to provide a safe environment for their students and staff. In fact, they had instigated additional measures as they realised that no two persons experience of returning to “normal” would be the same. 

The student commenced her study and found some parts harder than expected. She found it difficult to access the help she needed during times. The student disengaged from the course and stopped attending. The provider attempted to contact the student, but her responses were intermittent. The student made a request for a refund but this was after the period when she would be entitled to receive one according to the provider’s refund policy. She was declined.

How we helped

The student contacted iStudent Complaints and mediation was arranged for her and her provider. Prior to the mediation, the student undertook preparation for mediation sessions arranged by iStudent Complaints. 

In the mediation she shared her experiences of the lockdown and the effect that it had on her. The provider explained the measures they were taking to keep staff and students safe in the pandemic. The student expressed what she had found challenging in the programme and the provider detailed the supports available and how to access them, giving the student a greater understanding on what resources were available to assist her in her study.


The parties agreed that the student would recommence her study in the next intake.

The student now understood how to access learning support and expressed that if she needed additional support in managing her wellness throughout her studies, she would contact the student health team.