Reducing your study load as an international student

As an international student on a student visa, you are expected to complete your course within the time given on your electroninc Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE). For example, a student enrolled in a Bachelor of Commerce is expected to complete within 3 years. In most instances, this requires you to enrol in a 100 per cent study load (that is, 24 units per semester), each semester until the completion of your program requirements. You can only reduce your study load or extend your course duration in limited, exceptional circumstances. You will need to seek permission from your ANU College course adviser to reduce your study load. Please note that in most cases, you will be required to substantiate your request for a reduced study load with supporting documentation (eg medical/ counselling certificates).

You may be allowed to reduce your study load if it will not extend the duration of your program (as indicated on your COE). For instance, if you have been granted credit or completed subjects in a non-standard session (eg summer or winter session) and you are ahead of your course requirements, you may be permitted to reduce your study load in the following semester.

You do not need to seek approval to reduce your study load if you are undertaking the final subjects of your course and are enrolled in your last semester.

A reduced study load can be approved in the following circumstances:

  • Your course duration will not change; or
  • The duration of your course is extended due to:
    • Course structure or subject availability
    • Illness, bereavement or traumatic experience
    • Academic progress assistance 

There are potentially very serious consequences to your eCoE and visa when reducing your study load.

Unapproved reduced study loads

In accordance with Australian legislation, ANU can only extend a student’s program duration and issue an extension eCoE if there are compassionate or compelling circumstances that necessitate the extension. If you reduce your study load without approval or supporting documentation throughout your degree and then require an extension to your program, you may find ANU denies your request for an extension and refuses to issue you with a new eCoE. This will mean that you will not be able to extend your student visa and you may not be able to complete your program at the University.

Step 1
Advisor appointment

Make an appointment with your course adviser in your ANU College to discuss your course plan and reasons for requiring a reduced study load.

Step 2
Complete application

Complete the Application for Reduced Study Load and a supporting statement explaining the reason that you are requesting a reduced load.

Resources to help

Step 3
Provide supporting documentation

It is most important that you provide independent supporting documentation to support your claims. It is not sufficient to provide only a personal statement outlining your special circumstances, a statutory declaration or an affidavit.

Depending on your reasons for applying for reduced study load you will also need to provide a statement from a doctor, counsellor or an independent member of the community to verify your claims.

Documentation provided must be originals or certified copies of original documents only. Scanned documents will not be accepted.

Supporting documentation may include:

For medical reasons – a statement from a doctor stating:

  • the date your medical condition began or changed;
  • how your condition affected your ability to study; and
  • when it became apparent that you could not continue with your studies.

Please Note: You should inform your doctor that the statement will be sent to ANU in support of your application.

For family/personal reasons – a statement from a doctor, counsellor or independent member of the community (eg a Justice of the Peace or a Minister of Religion) stating:

  • the date your personal circumstance began or changed;
  • how your circumstance affected your ability to study; and

when it became apparent you could not continue your studies.  

Resources to help

Step 4
Submit application

Your application with your written statement and all original or certified supporting documents should be submitted to your ANU College Student Admin Office.

Step 5
Notification of decision & appeal

You will be notified of the outcome of your application and reasons for the decision via email within 28 business days of the receipt of your application with all original or certified original supporting documentation. 

If your application for late withdrawal is unsuccessful, you have the right of appeal. You should write to the Registrar, Division of Student Administration within 28 days of the date of the outcome letter, outlining the grounds for your appeal. You may include additional support documentation. You will then be advised in writing of the outcome of the review. Send your appeal to:

Registrar Division of Student Administration
Student Central
The Australian National University
Building X-005, 121 Marcus Clarke Street
CANBERRA ACT 2601 AUSTRALIA

Step 6
Apply for a fee refund

If you applied for reduced study load before census date and your application has been successful you will be required to apply for a refund.

Advice to help

Fee refunds