VET FEE HELP continues to be the focus of much attention. The Government has gazetted a number of changes aimed at overcoming some of the criticism of the original version of the program. However there is still a lot of uncertainty in the minds of some providers. Below are some areas where ACPET is fielding a lot of questions:
- Disclosure of Fees. It is very clear in the Guidelines that VET FEE HELP providers are required to ensure that their course fees are readily available for potential students on advertising and promotional materials. This includes making them available on the organisation’s website. Having a contact arrangement that leads to a sales person who can then provide the enquirer with fee information does not satisfy this requirement.
- Census Dates. This remains an area of concern. I am aware of providers with two census dates for a diploma course and some with as many as 19 census dates. The lack of a clear understanding of what is meant by a “Unit of Study” has added to the confusion. It appears the Government is looking to mandate four units of study for a diploma course. They also seem to be suggesting four census dates with one in each “term”. There is no clear indication of how this works with rolling intakes and on line delivery. ACPET is continuing its dialogue with the Department seeking clarification of this and other issues. We will provide further advice as soon as it is available.
- Third Party Arrangements. There are a number of different third party arrangements that have been approved for the delivery of VET FEE HELP courses. Some of the arrangements have resulted in complaints and disputes between the parties, students and other providers. One of the things we believe needs to be very clear in the documented arrangements is the recruitment arrangements. ACPET was so concerned about some of the recruitment practices earlier in the year that we introduced a Code of Practice to provide guidance and some key principles we expect all members to adhere to in this area. Not clearly documenting recruitment arrangements in line with the Code of Practice is unacceptable.
The other area that is causing problems in some third party arrangements is the lack of certainty around who is the RTO with which the students are enrolled and thus issue the certificate to successful students. Not only does this need to be clearly documented it must also be very clear to students. Although these things are clear in the guidelines, some arrangements that are in place are not as clear as they should be and have caused confusion and complaints… Read more