The body that investigates complaints from international students says the number of cases it receives has nearly doubled.
The International Education Appeal Authority says it had 261 complaints last year, up from 140 in 2008.
It upheld 94 of those complaints and investigations continued into this year for a further 69.
The authority's annual report says most of the cases involved private education providers.
It says there was a considerable increase in complaints about refunds for students who changed to a different education provider.
The report says that in many cases students had changed to a course that cost less or that started later so they had more time to work in paid employment.