Australian Government - Australian Education International

National Code Part D, Standard 1

Marketing information and practices

 

Explanatory guide for Standard 1

 

Frequently asked questions on this page:

 

Registered providers ensure that marketing of their education and training services is professional, accurate and maintains the integrity and reputation of the industry.

This standard guides providers in marketing their education and training services. It offers a safeguard against unethical practices and assists both providers and students.

Key requirements for all sectors

 

  • Marketing information and practices must be professional and ethical.
  • The registered provider’s name and CRICOS provider code must be clearly identified on all material used to market the provider and its courses to students.
  • Information or advice given to students must not be false or misleading.
  • Providers must not knowingly enrol a student wishing to transfer from another provider before the student has completed six months of his or her principal course except in circumstances outlined in Standard 7. These restrictions also apply to courses taken before the principal course in a package of courses.
  • A provider must not actively recruit a student where this clearly conflicts with its obligations under Standard 7.
  • It must not knowingly enrol a student prior to the student completing six months of his or her principal course except in certain circumstances (see Standard 7.1). 
  • These restrictions also apply to the courses taken before the principal course in a package of courses. 
  • A student must remain with his or her provider for all of his or her courses prior to the principal course in a package of courses unless the provider has provided a written letter of release or Standard 7.1 a., c. or d. applies.
  • What this standard involves:

     

    1.1

    The registered provider must ensure the marketing of its education and training services is undertaken in a professional manner and maintains the integrity and reputation of the industry and registered providers.

     


    Providers must market their education and training services in a professional manner. This means that marketing activities will maintain the integrity and reputation of the industry and registered providers. Marketing material should reflect the provider as a skilled professional in its field and be honest and accurate. Examples of false or misleading information include a provider giving inaccurate information about the location of its campus at which courses will be provided or a provider making false comparisons with other providers. Marketing material should be edited with care and reflect the knowledge and specialisation of the providers as educators.

     

     
    1.2 The registered provider must:


    a.  clearly identify the registered provider’s name and CRICOS number in written marketing and other material for students, including electronic form
    b. not give false or misleading information or advice in relation to:
        i. claims of association between providers
        ii. the employment outcomes associated with a course
        iii. automatic acceptance into another course
        iv. possible migration outcomes, or
        v. any other claims relating to the registered provider, its course or
        outcomes associated with the course.

     

    The registered provider’s name and the CRICOS provider number are clearly identified in marketing material for overseas students. This means that all written and electronic material that is used for marketing and recruitment of overseas students lists the registered provider’s legal entity and CRICOS code. The provider’s trading name is not required, but may also be included. Examples of marketing material used for recruitment purposes could include:

  • information about courses for overseas students including course outlines if used to market courses and recruit students
  • the homepage of a provider’s website and pages relating to international student services
  • information about living in Australia if it is used as a tool to market to and recruit students and if it has been produced for or by the provider for the purpose of marketing to and recruiting students 
  • an advertisement for courses for international students in an Australian or foreign newspaper
  • materials that promote and advertise courses with a provider (including cards which may be considered more advertisements than conventional business cards)
  • a letterhead, signature block or footer used in letters making offers to students, promoting courses or for other marketing purposes; and
  • emails that are sent to students offering enrolment or informing students of courses.
  • These materials would not generally be required to include the registered provider’s name and the CRICOS provider number:

  • envelopes
  • conventional business cards that give provider contact details only
  • job advertisements unless they are used to promote studying with a provider
  • Student handbooks that are distributed after the student has enrolled with a provider
  • general information that is relevant to domestic students only
  • any other information that does not market courses to overseas students
  • tourist brochures which provide information about life in Australia; and
  • links to useful external websites, such as Tourism Australia.
  •  

    Note that section 107 of the ESOS Act further clarifies requirements for providers for including the registered name and CRICOS provider number on written material including in electronic form that:

  • makes an offer to overseas students or intending overseas students
  • invites an overseas student or intending overseas student to undertake or apply to undertake a course, or
  • holds itself out as able or willing to provide a course.
  • Under the Act, providers need to ensure that the registered business name and CRICOS provider number are included in such materials as the prospectus, application form, letter of offer and enrolment form if those materials perform one or more of the three functions described by the Act and mentioned above.

     

    Please note that where any material contains a pull out or tear-away section, the removable section should also comply.

    In addition, note that a provider of a course who is not a registered provider must identify the registered provider in any written material promoting the course. This would include any courses offered by arrangement with another provider. For further information about arrangements with other providers, please see Part C of the National Code 2007.

     

    1.3 The registered provider must not actively recruit a student where this clearly conflicts with its obligations under Standard 7 (Transfer between registered providers).

     

     

  • Providers must not knowingly enrol a student before the student has completed six months of his or her principal course except in certain circumstances (see Standard 7.1). These restrictions also apply to the courses prior to the principal course in a package of courses. A student must remain with their provider for all of their courses before the principal course in a package of courses unless the provider has provided a written letter of release or Standard 7.1a, c or d applies.
  • If a student who has arranged to study a package of courses wishes to change providers before beginning the principal course, the National Code requires that the student has a letter of release from the provider of the course in which the student is currently studying. If enrolment in the principal course was conditional upon the student completing a particular pathway course with a certain provider, the provider of the principal course may decide the student has not met the conditions of offer and refuse to enrol the student. Good practice would be for a provider approached for a letter of offer to encourage the student to check how a change of provider would affect the offer for the principal course.
  • A provider should take reasonable steps to check whether a student is enrolled with another provider before completing the enrolment. ‘Reasonable steps’ could include asking the student if he or she is currently enrolled with another provider, checking a student’s visa and using PRISMSAfter 1 July 2007, if a provider attempts to create a CoE for a student who is currently studying elsewhere, PRISMS will alert the provider that the student is currently studying with another provider.
  • Please note that students under the age of 18 will need permission from a parent or a legal guardian to change providers.
  • Compliance tips
    For a provider to show it is complying with Standard 1, it may need some of the following as evidence:
  • samples of promotional material used to market and recruit students;
  • letters or emails used to send course offers to student;
  • evidence of arrangements with other providers and the materials used to promote courses that are taught by them;
  • a letter of release to show the student has the provider’s permission to transfer prior to completion of six months of his or her principal course;
  • a copy of a valid enrolment offer from the new provider in the student’s file where a student has applied for a letter of release;
  • a documented process for signing off promotional material covered by this standard; and
  • evidence of updating of material when necessary.
  •  

     

    Common questions and answers

    Please note: The principles in the examples below can be applied to all sectors.

    Accurate Marketing

     

    Q

    Can a provider promote and market a course for which it has applied, but is yet to receive, registration?

    A

    No. Providers must not promote and market a course while an application for CRICOS registration is awaiting approval. However, a provider may inform prospective and enrolled students that it has applied for registration of a course. For further information, please see the example and notes below.

     

     A provider promotes an unregistered course

    The College of Hospitality delivers courses to domestic and overseas students. The Diploma of Hospitality has been offered to domestic students for several years but now the college plans to offer the course to international students. Applications have been made to the state authority to extend the scope of the college and the college has begun to market the course on its website and using materials developed for the domestic market. The college is in breach of the Code and the Act because it is marketing a course that is not yet registered to offer to overseas students on a student visa. The college should have restricted its promotional activities to informing prospective and enrolled students that it has applied for registration of the course, but not actively marketed the course to students. When the course has been approved for delivery to overseas students, the provider will need to ensure that its marketing material for overseas students contains the registered provider name and the CRICOS provider number.

    Note:

  • When a provider wishes to change its scope (for example, add courses) it must apply to the designated authority.
  • Under Section 8 (1) d-e of the ESOS Act it is an offence for a provider to hold itself out as able or willing to provide a course in a state to overseas students unless the person is registered to provide that particular course for that particular state. While awaiting CRICOS registration for a course, providers must not to lead students to believe that the course will certainly be available in the future. 
  • If asked, providers may tell students that a course has been submitted for CRICOS registration, and that the provider is awaiting the outcome. The provider should not make any suggestions as to when it thinks the course is likely to become available, as this may lead the student to wait for a course which may not eventuate. If asked about a course awaiting registration, good practice would be for the provider (or its representative/s) to make it clear to the student that the course is not yet available, but that the provider is willing to contact the student should the course become registered on CRICOS. The provider and its representatives must be careful not lead the student to believe that CRICOS registration for that course is a certainty.
  • Section 8 of the ESOS Act provides for a maximum penalty of imprisonment for two years for offering an unregistered course to overseas students
  • Agent recruitment

     

     What should a provider do if they suspect their agent is acting dishonestly in relation to students intending to come to Australia on student visas?

    A

    The provider should cease accepting overseas students recruited by that agent. If the agent has been granted access to the PRISMS system to create CoEs, the provider should put an urgent request in writing to have the agent removed - PRISMS Help Desk fax (02 6123 7558) or email: prisms@deewr.gov.au.

    Will the Department of Education make information on “bad” agents available to providers?

    A

    The Department of Education will advise a provider if they become aware a provider is using an agent that: engages in dishonest practices; facilitates the enrolment of non bona fide students; or engages in false or misleading advertising and recruitment practices. If the provider continues to use the agent, the provider risks breaching the National Code and may have sanctions imposed on their registration.
    DEEWR cannot, for privacy/defamation/natural justice reasons, issue a “black list” of agents about whom there have been concerns.

    Why is the Department of Education allowing agents access to PRISMS?

    A

    The Department of Education is allowing agents to create CoE s if the provider has given them authorisation to do so via the PRISMS User Registration form. These CoEs must be approved by the provider. The provider must not allow an agent they suspect of inappropriate behaviour access to PRISMS.

    Q

    What constitutes ‘active recruitment of a student already enrolled with another provider’?

    A

    Active recruitment of a student is when an agent or representative of a particular provider speaks or writes directly to a student and promotes a provider or course as superior to and/or cheaper than the provider or course in which the student is currently enrolled, with the intention of encouraging the student to transfer from his or her current provider.

     

    Marketing targets students enrolled with another provider

    At the Southern School of English, Lars has requested a letter of release four months after beginning  his English language course. Lars has been informed that a nearby college is offering the same course but charging a different fee. He received this information from a representative of the nearby college who stood inside the gates of the Southern School of English offering course information pamphlets to students. The Southern School of English reports the suspected breach of Standard 1 via the ESOS Helpline.

     

     

    Note:
  • Under Standard 7 students may request a release from their provider prior to the completion of six months of their principal course of study. The provider assesses the request in accordance with its transfer request assessment policy and procedure.
  • The provider may refuse a letter of release if the student does not have reasonable grounds for release as set out in the provider’s transfer request assessment policy and procedure.
  • To issue a letter of offer to a potential student is not considered ‘actively recruiting’ or an offence. In fact, under Standard 7.3 a valid letter of offer from another provider is required by the current provider in order to be able to issue a letter of release. While Standard 7 requires a letter of offer to be issued, the new provider must not enrol (issue a Confirmation of Enrolment for) the student until it has received a letter of release from the original provider.
  • The behaviour of the nearby competitor who handed out course information on a rival provider’s premises advertising lower course fees may have breached Standard 1.1 of the National Code 2007 and may also have breached other state or territory laws suchas trespass.
  • The following practices would be considered as unacceptable recruitment practices:
  • intercepting inbound students at a point of arrival, such as the airport, with the intent of influencing them to change providers;
  • mentioning a rival provider by name in promotional material that makes false or misleading claims about price or quality of courses; and
  • distributing the material while trespassing on the premises of a rival college.
  • Display CRICOS Provider Code

     

    Does all our promotional material need to have our registered provider name and CRICOS number identified on them?

    A

    Yes. All written material (including web) that promotes a course or invites an intending student to apply to undertake a course, must list the registered provider’s number.
    Section 107 of the ESOS Act 2000 (please refer to the Act for more detail) makes a provider guilty of an offence if they are not approved to: 

  • make an offer to an overseas student
  • invite an overseas student
  • hold yourself out as willing to provide a course
  • fail to identify the registered provider for the course for the state and the registered provider’s CRICOS number.
  •  

    Q

    Does a student handbook have to carry the provider’s registered name and CRICOS provider code?

    A

    It depends on how the student handbook is used. See below for an explanation.

     

     If the handbook is used for promotional purposes, it must contain the provider’s CRICOS provider number

    At an international student fair in China, the International Secondary College is promoting its two CRICOS registered secondary courses to potential students. It has several brochures advertising the college and the benefits of studying in Australia. The representative of the college also displays a school handbook to give potential students an idea of the range of subjects and the facilities offered by the college. The brochures have the provider name and the provider CRICOS number, but the handbook does not include the CRICOS provider code because it was developed for enrolled students. This may be considered a breach if the handbook has been used deliberately at the fair to market the college and to recruit students or the handbook is used in some other way to influence a student to enrol with a provider.

     

     

     Note:

  • Materials used in the recruitment of students must contain the CRICOS provider number when they are used to recruit students. This also applies to materials that have been developed to provide information and are only occasionally used for marketing purposes.
  • Q

    Which parts of a provider’s website should include the provider’s CRICOS registration details?

    A

    The home page of the provider should include the CRICOS number in a prominent position (ie, not hidden away in tiny text in a corner). All pages relating to marketing, recruitment, services and information for overseas students should include the CRICOS registration details. While not required on every page of downloadable materials, the CRICOS number should appear somewhere on each document. Best practice would be to include the CRICOS number in the footer of the provider’s website.

    Arrangements with another provider

     

    Q

    How does a registered provider promote its courses when it has an arrangement with another provider?

    A

    Where more than one registered provider is involved in providing a course to overseas students, only one provider will be registered on CRICOS for that course. All advertising and promotional material must carry the registered name and CRICOS provider code of the provider registered to provide the course.

     

    A provider has an arrangement with another provider to deliver a course in the same state

    Western College has an arrangement with Lighthouse Institute to deliver a course in the same state. The designated authority has agreed to the provider’s recommendation of Western College as the registered provider for the course and, as a result, all promotional material carries the registered business name and CRICOS provider number of Western College. The material also makes clear that the course is being delivered by Lighthouse Institute and includes details about the location and facilities of Lighthouse Institute.

     

     

    Note:

  • Where more than one provider is involved in providing a course to overseas students, only one provider will be registered on CRICOS for that course.
  • It is mandatory for the registered business name and CRICOS provider code of Western College to appear on all promotional material for the registered course that Lighthouse Institute provides on its behalf. However, it is optional for Lighthouse Institute to include its registered business name (and CRICOS provider code, where applicable) on this material.

    A provider arranges to deliver courses in two states

    The University of the South (CRICOS no 00015C) is registered in Victoria. It wishes to deliver a course in NSW and does so by obtaining separate CRICOS registration (CRICOS no 00003W) with the designated authority in NSW. The University’s NSW registration (00003W) arranges with another provider in NSW, Academic College, to deliver the course in NSW.  The marketing material for the course bears the name and CRICOS provider number of the University of the South that was registered in NSW (00003W). The University of the South (00003W) is responsible for implementation and breaches of the ESOS Act and the National Code, whatever the nature of its contractual or other arrangements with another provider

  •  

    Note:

  • CRICOS registration is not transferable between providers.
  • Section 9 of the ESOS Act requires that providers must be registered in each state in which they offer courses, even if offering courses by arrangement with another provider in that state.
  • The designated authority needs to be advised in writing of all providers to be involved in providing a registered course, the role played by each provider in the delivery of the course and the single provider recommended to be registered for the course.
  • Marketing material must contain the registered business name and the CRICOS provider number of the provider registered on CRICOS to deliver the course in the designated state or territory.
  • If the University of the South wants to promote all courses provided by its two campuses, including the interstate campus, the marketing material must contain both provider codes and clearly indicate where the courses are being delivered. If the courses are being delivered by another provider, this must also be clearly stated.
  •  

    Connections

     

    Standard

    National Code

    ESOS Act

    Other

    1

    Standard 4

    Standard 7

    Part C

     

    Section 8

    Section 9

    Section 107