Course Fee Refunds
Under Ireland's immigration regulations, all colleges recruiting non-EEA students are required to show their refunds policy on their website. Immigration service rules are very clear about students being entitled to a refund of fees from a college if they are unsuccessful in applying for a visa to come to Ireland to study.
It is important to check a college's refund policy before you consider signing up for a course with them and to save copies of emails for your records. In particular, you should check what deduction a college will make as an 'administration fee' from any refund. A deduction is permitted, provided that the amount is clearly stated in the policy.
When will a request for a refund be refused?
Typically, a college policy will say that there can be no refund of fees once a course has begun. Policies differ a lot between colleges for cancellation before a course begins. Some refund policies are quite fair, others are not and this may be a reason to think carefully about booking with a college. Many colleges reserve the right to withhold a refund if a visa has been refused due to submission of false documents.
Where can you find a college's refund policy?
This will be available on the international student page of the college website. This is a requirement of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS):
Colleges must have a clearly stated and understandable refunds policy available on the international student page of the college website. A refund policy must also be provided by colleges to students as part of their acceptance to study at a college.
Rejected Visa Applications and Course Fee Refunds
Students who provide proof that they were refused a visa to come to Ireland (i.e. a letter from the Embassy of Ireland) are entitled have their fees refunded. A college's refunds policy must explain how it will deal with cases of visa refusal, including how long it will take to process the refund (INIS guidelines say that a maximum of 20 working days is permitted for courses on the list of eligible courses). A college may apply a deduction from the refund as an administrative fee, but only if this is stated in the policy.
The immigration service requires that colleges keep student fees in a protected account until a visa decision has been made. This is a direct result of cases highlighted by ICOS. It is very important that students speak out about problems obtaining a refund to which they are entitled.
What can you do if you have problems?
INIS says that colleges that do not have a policy in place or who do not comply with the terms of their stated policy in the event of visa refusal may be suspended from the visa list.
If you have problems with a college connected to its refund policy, contact us with the following information:
- The name of the college
- A copy of the refund policy you were provided with (if you were provided with one) and/or the weblink for the college's refund policy
- Copies of all emails/Facebook messages/text messages related to your booking
- Copies of all emails/Facebook messages/text messages related to your request for a refund
- A copy of any refund form you have submitted
- A summary why you believe you are entitled to a refund under the college's policy (if it is for a reason other than visa refusal)
Please remember, we will need you to give us as much evidence as possible if we are to take up a case on your behalf.