How to Report

A grievance is defined as a complaint or conflict which arises out of an act, decision or omission which the grievant considers being unjust, wrongful or discriminatory.  There are many different reasons why you would want to file a grievance. CISA’s Education, Equity, and Welfare Portfolios are here to be peer support and assist you in finding the best advice they can – be it legal advice or finding people to file the grievance with at your institution.

Academic Appeals

An education grievance is when you believe you are been mistreated in your institution.

Examples of academic grievances include:

  • Content and delivery of units in a course;
  • Recognition of Prior Learning;
  • Advanced Standing;
  • Assessments (for example assignments, tests, examinations);
  • Special Consideration; or
  • Plagiarism.

Equity Grievances

An equity-related grievance is when you believe you are being discriminated against or harassed because of your:

  • sex (including pregnancy)
  • sexual preference
  • transgender status
  • race
  • colour
  • ethnic or ethnoreligious background
  • descent or national identity
  • marital status
  • disability
  • age
  • political conviction
  • religious belief

Welfare Grievances

A welfare-related grievance is any issues that you face while you are an international student in Australia that is outside of your studies or institution and is not an equity grievance.

Examples include:

  • Accommodation
  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Work place

Private Health Insurance Grievances

If students have a problem with OSHC insurer, they can contact the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO). The PHIO provides a free independent service to help consumers with health insurance problems and inquiries.

The PHIO can deal with complaints from health fund members, health funds, private hospitals or medical practitioners. Complaints must be about a health insurance arrangement.

Phone: 1800 640 695 (within Australia)

Email: Private Health Insurance Ombudsman

Visit the PHIO website.

As grievances might cross over into the three portfolios, it is suggested you send your initial email to and your email will be directed to the appropriate portfolio. Please see below to what information you will need to send us so that we can help you with the case.

Steps to Make a Complaint

  1. Identify the issue you want to complain about.
  2. Think about what your education provider could do to fix the problem.
  3. If it is an education grievance, check the provider’s website for their complaints and appeals policy. It should tell you how to make a complaint and who to send your complaint to. If you can’t find this information on the website, ask your provider for a copy (they must give it to you).
  4. Put your complaint in writing, even if you talk to your provider about it first. This way you have a record that you made a complaint, what issues you raised and what you asked to be done to resolve the problem.
    • Describe the problem or decision you disagree with
    • What happened? Who did what? Include details of relevant meetings or conversations
    • When? Include date and time
    • What do you want done to fix the problem? Make sure what you are asking for is reasonable.
    • Include your name, student number and contact details
    • Attach any relevant documents
  5. Stay calm and be polite when making your complaint. Make it clear you are giving the provider a chance to fix a mistake or a problem.
  6. Keep records – keep copies of any letters or emails you send and receive. Make a not of any telephone conversations you have, including the name of the person you spoke to, the date and time. You may need to provide more information to support your complaint.
  7. Don’t give up! If nothing happens, phone your provider and ask about the progress of your complaint. Check their complaints policy to see how long you can expect to wait for an outcome.
  8. You should receive a written outcome and explain the reasons for its decision. If you do not receive a decision in writing with reasons, request the information.
  9. If you have not received any communication regarding the complaint after a reasonable time frame or you are not happy with the outcome, consider contacting the ombudsman.