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Students still waiting on refunds from failed college

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 14/03/2018

NZQA was continuing to review a number of issues regarding the college and its director but could not comment until that was completed, the authority said. © Getty Image NZQA was continuing to review a number of issues regarding the college and its director but could not comment until that was completed, the authority said. Overseas students left in limbo and out of pocket after their school closed down two months ago say they still haven't received any refunds from the Qualifications Authority.

The New Zealand National College in Auckland was deregistered by NZQA after almost nine months of investigations.

RNZ has previously reported that a group of 40 students studying Level 7 business have been left without their money, visas and their diplomas after the school shut down.

But students who took the Level 3 Preparation for University course said a further 70 students are also in a similar situation.

Student Jing-Qi says he had returned to China on holiday when he received an email that the school was closing and his visa was cancelled.

Unable to return to New Zealand, the 17-year-old said it had been a stressful time and he did not feel there had been enough support from NZQA or the college.

"I think the New Zealand National College and NZQA have not taken enough responsibility to take care of the students," he said.

"They haven't helped all the students to find another school to complete our studies."

Jing-Qi had a receipt from the college showing he paid nearly $39,000 as a package deal for the course, which included material fees and accomodation.

He was only getting about $18,000 of that back, he said.

NZQA said Level 3 students could retain credits they have already received and transfer to alternative providers.

But Jing-Qi is worried he cannot find another school.

"If no other school can take us then all the work I've already done is useless," he said.

"I should get a full refund because the two semesters I paid and studied for isn't counting for anything."

So far, no money had been refunded and he was not the only one, Jing-Qi said.

Level 7 students have previously claimed they paid the college thousands of dollars more than what was put into the Public Trust, which NZQA said it was investigating.

One of them, Cora, said she paid $14,000 for her course but NZQA told her it could only refund $6000 of that.

She had not seen a cent yet, she said.

"I feel upset and I don't know how to sort out my future studies because I haven't received my money from NZQA," she said.

"It delays any plans I have for myself."

She needed the money in order to transfer to another school and apply for a new student visa, she said.

Time was running out because her visitor visa expires next month.

NZQA said the majority of the Level 7 student refunds should have already been processed.

It was unable to comment on whether Level 3 students had received their money back because they applied directly to the Public Trust for a refund.

The Public Trust said so far 42% of preparation for university and 71% of Level 7 students have had their money returned.

NZQA was continuing to review a number of issues regarding the college and its director but could not comment until that was completed, the authority said.

Attempts by RNZ to contact the managing director, marketing manager and quality assurance manager of the college were unsuccessful.

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