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Australian gov't to help students affected by colleges collapse

The Australian government will waive fees from January 1, 2010, for as many as 4,700 students reapplying to study at new institutions after 12 colleges collapsed, Immigration Minister Chris Evans announced on Monday.

International students crippled by a spate of college foreclosures this year will be exempt from paying 540 Australian dollars (about 499 U.S. dollars) visa fees to stay on in Australia as the country resets its immigration intake to attract the people it needs.

Last week, the Meridian International left thousands of students in Melbourne and Sydney looking for new courses or refunds.

"Where an education provider can no longer offer a course, the government's primary concern is the welfare of the student," Evans said. "We understand that these situations are not the fault of the student."

Meanwhile, the government will raise the amount of savings international students need to demonstrate they can afford life in Australia.

From next year, prospective overseas students must show they can access at least 18,000 Australian dollars (about 16,657 U.S. dollars) a year, on top of tuition fees, up from 12,000 Australian dollars (about 11,104 U.S. dollars).

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 Source : Xinhua  Editor: Ivy
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