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English Language Entry Requirements Policy

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) La Trobe International is responsible for assessing English language proficiency of international applicants in accordance with the University’s requirements and standards as approved from time to time.

(2) This Policy establishes the framework for English language admissions requirements for prospective students.

(3) English is the primary language of instruction at the University and proficiency in speaking, listening comprehension, reading comprehension and writing English is essential.

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Section 2 - Scope/ Application

(4) Applies to:

  1. All campuses and external programs
  2. All courses, including those taught interstate and off-shore
  3. All students
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(5) Applicants for coursework and graduate research degrees may submit a number of measures of English language proficiency including internationally recognised tests of English language proficiency and academic evidence of previous study in English. Other evidence of proficiency in English may also be accepted in individual cases upon provision of appropriate documentation (refer to English Language Entry Requirements Procedure: Schedule 2).

(6) The University accepts the Department of Home Affairs - IELTS Test Scores required minimum English language proficiency standards for international applicants and in addition requires that a specified minimum score must be achieved in all parts of the test (i.e. speaking, listening, reading and writing).

(7) For overseas qualifications in English, and where countries are defined as English speaking or where English is the primary language of instruction, the University accepts the AEI-NOOSR (Australian Education International – National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition) and UK NARIC (National Academic Recognition Information Centre) as the main means of assessment. The University also accepts the Department of Home Affairs - IELTS Test Scores required minimum English language proficiency standards for international applicants and in addition requires that a specified minimum score must be achieved in all parts of the test (i.e. speaking, listening, reading and writing).

(8) These minimum standards which can be met through IELTS test scores or their equivalent, as identified in English Language Entry Requirements Procedure: Schedule 1 are:

  1. Foundation study: 5.5 IELTS (no band less than 5.0)
  2. Diploma courses: 6.0 IELTS (no band less than 5.0)
  3. Bachelor courses: 6.0 IELTS (no band less than 6.0)
  4. Postgraduate and Graduate Research: 6.5 IELTS (no band less than 6.0)

(9) The Academic Board may agree to a higher IELTS standard if that is recommended by the appropriate College through Coursework Committee or Board of Graduate Research in order to meet the specific demands of the particular courses or to be consistent with accepted standards and/or external professional requirements.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Foundation Studies Program

(10) English language entry requirements for all foundation studies programs in Australia must meet the “National Standards for Foundation Programs”, to be administered in Victoria by the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA).

(11) The current Foundation Studies program (delivered by La Trobe College Australia (LTCA) effective 6 October 2010) was approved for re-registration on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) in December 2010.

(12) La Trobe College Australia will require applicants to fulfil at least the minimum requirements set by the National Standards. These entry requirements are also described in the agreement between the University and La Trobe College Australia and thus may be amended by the Joint Management Committee of the LTU/LTCA relationship chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) (DVCA).

Comparability of Proficiency Measures

(13) The University accepts the results of a number of internationally recognised tests of English language proficiency, in keeping with Australian practice. These are described in the attached schedules and are published annually in the La Trobe’s Undergraduate and Postgraduate International course guides and on the International English Language Requirements webpage.

(14) International students without the required level of English at the time of application will be required to satisfactorily complete an appropriate English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) program at La Trobe College Australia or an approved equivalent program with the required grade/mark for their program of study before being admitted to the University.

(15) La Trobe International will coordinate the determination of equivalence of other ELICOS programs through an external evaluation process. All requirements must also be made clear in promotional material to future students.

English Language Requirements

(16) From time to time, students may present evidence of English language proficiency for which there is no current recognition. In this case:

  1. the student may be required to submit for an approved test or course; or
  2. the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) may seek to ascertain the acceptability of the submitted evidence.

(17) From time to time, new tests or courses will emerge for which recognition is sought. The Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) will coordinate the determination of the acceptability of the test or course and the levels at which students can be considered to have achieved a standard comparable to the minimum required test scores. New tests or courses will be added to the attached schedule following approval of the Academic Board.

(18) Evidence of benchmarking of the results obtained by graduates of ELICOS courses (pre course English) against an internationally recognised test score may be required, prior to the recognition of those courses as equivalent to the appropriate test score.

Raising the Required English Language Proficiency

(19) The University accepts the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) required minimum test scores for international students.

(20) A College may wish to set a higher proficiency level for an individual course or courses than is currently the case. The required procedure for increasing English entry requirements is:

  1. The recommended new level and justification is put to and approved by the College Coursework Committee to meet the specific demands of the particular courses or to be consistent with accepted standards and/or external professional requirements;
  2. If approved by the College Coursework Committee, the recommendation is put to the Coursework Committee or the Board of Graduate Research in order for consideration;
  3. If the Coursework Committee or Board of Graduate Research in order supports the recommendation, it will refer the matter to Academic Board for ratification; and
  4. If the Coursework Committee or Board of Graduate Research in order does not support the recommendation, it will notify the College Coursework Committee of its decision and rationale.

Disputes Regarding the Acceptability of Language Tests, ELICOS Courses and Test Scores

(21) Where an international student disputes the University’s decision to reject the evidence submitted in support of their English language proficiency, and where the evidence is not based on a measure publicly accepted by the University, the matter will be referred and responded to in accordance with the University Student Complaints Management Policy through the Student Complaints Office.

Reviewing the Evidence

(22)  Where an international student disputes the University’s decision to reject the evidence submitted in support of their English language proficiency due to the suspicion of fraud, the student may be required to submit a new set of results or other evidence acceptable to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International).

Provide Evidence for Required Proficiency of English

(23) International applicants need to provide evidence for the required proficiency of English at the time of application.

Conditional Offer of Admission

(24) International applicants who cannot provide evidence of the required proficiency level at the time of application may be granted a conditional offer of admission, subject to the provision of substantiating evidence that they have attained the advertised English language entry standard for their course (eg, specified English test score, successful completion of recognised English Language Intensive Course for Overseas Students (ELICOS) course, or previous study in English).

Measures of Attainment

(25) All measures of attainment of English language proficiency are outlined in English Language Entry Requirements Procedure: Schedule 2 and specify the time limitations of each qualification with the anticipated date of first enrolment at La Trobe University.

Measures Attached as Schedule 1

(26) Internationally accepted test scores and La Trobe College Australia measures are attached to these procedures as English Language Entry Requirements Procedure: Schedule 1.

Other Measures Attached as Schedule 2

(27) Other measures including previous study with English as language of instruction, country-specific measures and other acceptable Australian pre-course ELICOS programs accepted are attached to these procedures as Schedule 2.

Review of Schedules 1 and 2

(28) Schedules 1 and 2 will be reviewed annually by the Admissions Committee in August of each year for the admission year two years hence.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(29) For the purpose of this Policy and Procedure:

  1. IELTS is the International English Language Testing System as determined by the Department of Home Affairs - IELTS Test Scores; and
  2. Overseas or international student: consistent with the Migration Act 1958, a person in Australia on a student visa who is covered by the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS) legislation, a temporary visa holder or a permanent resident of New Zealand.