National Code Part D, Standard 12

Course credit


Explanatory guide for Standard 12

Please note this explanatory guide applies to the National Code 2017 and will not apply after 1 January 2018. Factsheets on the National Code 2018 are available here.

Frequently asked questions on this page:



Registered providers appropriately recognise course credit within the ESOS framework.


This standard outlines the process for providers to grant course credit to students with suitable prior learning or experience. Students are kept informed by providers, which give the students a copy of the course credit for their records. If necessary, the duration of study is adjusted accordingly and students are advised of the registered providers’ granting of credit.


Key requirements for all sectors
  • Providers have documented procedures for granting and recording course credit.
  • Course credit may reduce the length of a student’s course. If this occurs before visa grant, providers indicate the actual course duration in the confirmation of enrolment issued for that student for that course. If the course credit is granted after visa grant, the change in course duration is reported via Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS) under section 19 of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act.
  • Students sign or accept a record of course credit granted.

If a provider does not grant course credit, Standard 12 does not apply.

  • Documented procedures for granting and recording course credit are a requirement.
  • Providers are required to ensure students sign (or otherwise accept) a record of course credit. This record is to be kept on the student’s file.




  • For the purposes of the National Code 2007, course credit is defined as follows:

‘Exemption from enrolment in a particular part of the course as a result of previous study, experience or recognition of a competency currently held. Includes academic credit and recognition of prior learning.’


What this standard involves:



 12.1 Where the registered provider grants course credit, the registered provider must:

have documented procedures for the granting and recording of course credit; and

   a. provide a record of the course credit to the student, which must be signed or otherwise accepted by the student, and place it on the student’s file.



  • Providers must have written procedures outlining how and when they grant and record course credit.
  •  Students are to show they accept the course credit by either signing or otherwise accepting (for example, by ticking a box) the course credit granted.
  •  A copy of the student’s acceptance of course credit must be placed on the student’s file.


 12.2 If the registered provider grants the student course credit which leads to a shortening of the student’s course, the registered provider must:
   a. if the course credit is granted before the student visa grant, indicate the actual net course duration (as reduced by course credit) in the confirmation of enrolment issued for that student for that course; or
   b.  if the course credit is granted after the student visa grant, report the change of course duration via PRISMS under section 19 of the ESOS Act.


  • Prior to a student’s visa being granted, the provider must indicate the actual net course duration on the CoE. This will allow the Department of Education and DIBP to grant a visa with duration that reflects the actual course length.
  • At any time after a student has been granted a student visa, any change in course duration due to the granting of credit must be reported via PRISMS under Section 19 of the ESOS Act. Under Section 19, this must be done within 14 days after the event as specified by the Act.



Compliance tips

For a provider to show it is complying with Standard 12, it may need some of the following as evidence:

  • a documented procedure for the granting and recording of course credit
  • a record of course credit granted placed on the student’s file
  • if course credit was granted after visa grant and this led to a reduction in course length, evidence on the student’s or provider’s file that the change had been reported via PRISMS; and
  • applications for course credit which have been rejected, along with the reasons for refusal.


Common questions and answers

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

Course credit



Are providers required by the National Code 2007 to offer course credit to students?


No. Standard 12 applies where registered providers grant course credit. If providers do not wish to grant course credit in any circumstances, that is their choice.



If a student applies for course credit at the same time as applying for admission to a course, and the provider agrees to grant course credit, can the provider write the course credit into the letter of offer and accept the student’s signed acceptance of offer as acceptance of the course credit?


Yes. As long as the details of course credit are made clear in the letter of offer, a copy of the accepted letter of offer kept in the student’s file would be sufficient to meet the requirements of Standard 12.1 b.



What should providers keep in mind when writing their procedures for granting and recording course credit?


Good practice would be for the procedures to include at least:

  • a short description of acceptable documentation which students should supply to support their application for course credit
  • the grounds on which course credit may be accepted or rejected
  • the existence of fees and charges for application for course credit, if any, and estimated costs
  • how to inform a student of the outcome of the application, including an explanation of how the decision was reached if the application was rejected.



If an enrolled student applies for course credit and the provider rejects the student’s application for course credit, can the student appeal this decision?


Standard 12 does not prescribe how a provider is to address a student’s dissatisfaction with its response to his or her application for course credit. However, Standard 8 requires that providers have appropriate internal complaints and appeals processes. Enrolled students should be able to access their provider’s complaints and appeals processes to have their grievances heard and addressed.



A student applied for course credit after commencing studies and the application was rejected

Fatima commenced her Diploma of Graphic Design course at the World College of Graphic Arts. A few weeks into her course she noticed similarities between what she was studying and what she had studied in Pakistan, so decided to apply for course credit. She downloaded the college’s application form for course credit from the College’s website, completed it and submitted it to the college.

Following the college’s policy and procedures for granting and recording course credit, the course convenor for Graphic Design examined the content of the courses that Fatima had completed in Pakistan. On close inspection of the course content, it was clear that the courses Fatima had studied in Pakistan did have some content in common with her current course, but not enough to allow Fatima an exemption from any course components in the Diploma of Graphic Design.

When informing Fatima of the decision to refuse her application for course credit, World College explained the reasons for the decision. At that time Fatima was reminded of the provider’s processes for complaints and appeals.


  • World College’s documented procedures for granting course credit stated that applications for course credit could only be assessed by the convenor of the course. The procedures also clearly detailed what the convenor should consider when assessing applications for course credit.
  • World College demonstrated good practice in telling Fatima the reasons for rejecting her application for course credit and for drawing her attention to the existence of the complaints and appeals process.
  • Enrolled students are able to access providers’ complaints and appeals processes in accordance with the providers’ policies relating to complaints and appeals (see Standard 8).


Course duration



If a student has accepted an offer of place then applies for, and is granted, course credit, what happens?


The provider must refer to its course structure and unit/subject offerings and determine whether course credit granted will affect the duration of the course for that student.

If the course credit granted will not affect the duration of the course, the provider records the course credit in the student’s file but does not need to take any other action.

If the course credit granted will affect the duration of the course, the provider must record a change of course duration on PRISMS. To do this, the provider uses the Student Course Variation function, and indicates that the student has requested a change to the existing enrolment. The provider then chooses ‘transfer student into same course’ and then changes the end date of the course. This process will result in the creation of a new CoE (with the revised end date) and the cancellation of the original CoE.





Paragraph 33 of the National Code 2001 prevented providers from granting Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to a student if this would result in a less than a full-time load. Is there any such restriction under the National Code 2007?


No. The concept of ‘full-time’ is not a feature of the National Code 2007.

Standard 9 (Completion within the expected duration of study) requires that providers manage student’s loads so that students finish within the expected course duration (with opportunities for extension of the CoE under certain circumstances – see 9.2).

However, Standard 12.2 requires providers to respond appropriately (issue shorter CoE or notify the Department of Education of change of the duration of the CoE through PRISMS) if the granting of course credit leads to a shortening of the student’s course.






National Code




Standard 8

Section 19



 For further information about this Standard, please visit the Australian Education International and Department of Immigration and Border Protection websites.