International Education Appeal Authority
The International Education Appeal Authority (IEAA) is an independent body established to deal with complaints from international students about pastoral care, advice or services received from their education provider or the provider's agents.
The IEAA investigates complaints and determines if there has been a breach of the Code of Practice. It has the power to impose sanctions on education providers that have committed a breach that is not serious.
The IEAA may recommend to the International Education Review Panel that the provider be suspended or removed as a signatory to the Code of Practice if it has committed a serious breach.
The IEAA has produced reports summarising cases dealt with from 2003 to 2010. The most recent reports can be downloaded from the related downloads section at the bottom of this page.
Publication of an IEAA Decision recognising Private Training Establishments (PTE) contracts made prior to enrolment
- The IEAA recently issued one of the first decisions where a claim for retention of 25% of the fees had been made by the provider. A student maintained that she was not aware of the deduction authorised by the contract document made between the parties. The student directly forwarded the signed contract by email and made the payment for the fees subsequently. When the student arrived in New Zealand the student sought to withdraw immediately. This was prior to the statutory withdrawal period and therefore the provisions of the private contract prevailed. The private contract provided for a deduction of up to 25% by the provider if the student withdrew in the month prior to commencement of the course (which was this case).
- The provider had a very well-drawn and explicit contract although there was a submission by the student that the signature might have been forged in China. However, there was no satisfactory explanation why this event could have occurred when the student forwarded the document as it was forwarded by and from the student’s email address.
- The provider was able to produce its written contract allowing for deduction from the fees of successive amounts right up to the date of enrolment and it seemed to the IEAA that the contract allowing an up to 25% deduction was in this case paramount as the refund was sought before the student enrolled.
- It is absolutely essential that the contracts made after the offer of a place be fully recorded in writing and that copies of those documents are forwarded to the IEAA if a claim is made for a refund particularly if it is not subject to the statutory provision found in s.235 Education Act 1989.
- The IEAA is not directly empowered to intervene in a contract made between parties prior to enrolment unless it breaches the law or is completely unconscionable. In determining these matters the IEAA would take guidance from the intention of the Education Act 1989 to allow up to a 25% deduction but would reserve the right to review in each case an excess over 25%.
6 September 2012