Best practice complaint-handling

This page is for private education providers with international student enrolments

Standard 8 of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2017 requires private education providers with international student enrolments to have a complaints and appeals process and policy in place for students to exercise their right to access an external appeals process. This page includes information and resources for private education providers to assist them in meeting this requirement.


What we do

The Commonwealth Ombudsman is a free dispute resolution service for private education providers and their international students. Private education providers can refer international students to us after the student has exhausted their right to an internal appeal through their provider and the student is dissatisfied with the outcome (see basic dispute resolution pathway below).

Our service is free, independent and impartial

We provide information and resources about best practice complaint-handling to help private education providers manage internal complaints effectively.


We also publish reports and issues papers on common or systemic issues identified through our investigations.

Basic dispute resolution pathway

  1. Student is unhappy with their private education provider’s decision or action
  2. Student should:
    1. Check their written agreement
    2. Talk to their provider
    3. Check their provider’s website for details about how to complain
  3. Student lodges a complaint with their provider
  4. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of their complaint, the student can ask their provider to review the decision (appeal)
  5. If the student is still not satisfied with the decision, the student can contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman

What providers should consider when handling a student’s a complaint

What happens when a student lodges a dispute with us?

Read our fact sheet: What to expect if a student contacts us

Resources for education providers

We also have resources to help your students. Check out our International Student page.

Can't find what you are looking for or still have questions? Contact us