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ACPET calls for an end to constant Victorian VET funding changes

ACPET News      |     17 June 2014

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The Victorian government has announced further changes to the funding of VET courses – which it has done several times previously over the past year.   The latest round of changes to fees and funding policy, for the first time, includes apprentices in the eligibility rules. There will now be apprentices who will have to pay full fee for their courses or not proceed.  The Australian Council for Private Education and Training ACPET has called on the Victorian government to rethink the latest cuts and feechanges, with ACPET chief Claire Field pointing to the disruptive impact on both RTOs and intending students of the constant  changes to  funding arrangements.
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She said that the latest changes cut funding to providers simply for complying with government policy.

The changes come, as previous changes have, with no notice to the sector; and they serve to penalise those providers who were doing the ‘right’ thing – ie those who had set fees which the government thought were reasonable. These changes lock providers into an extremely difficult six months as they try and provide a quality education to their students with less funding from government.

Ms Field noted that, “unlike the Victorian government, which is establishing a pattern of changing funding arrangements Claire Fieldwith little notice to the sector, providers have a legal obligation to students who have already enrolled in courses commencing from 1 July 2014. Providers are unable to charge these students the higher fees that the government wants them to, because students who have already completed their enrolment paperwork have already paid their enrolment fees. That means that, as with previous changes, the provider must deliver the same level of quality with much less funding”.
quote marksWhat our learners, employers, the Victorian community and VET sector need is certainty in VET funding. Changes to amend or improve the system must be well thought through and planned. They cannot be imposed on the system overnight.

 

Ms Field called on the government to provide certainty and stability for students who have already completed their enrolment for Semester Two study in 2014.

The government should continue to provide funding at existing rates for students who have already taken an enrolment decision. The government also needs to give providers the ability to charge higher fees for Semester Two for students yet to enrol – to ensure cuts to government subsidies don’t have a detrimental impact on quality.

 

 

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