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Acquire tumbles towards insolvency

ABC News     |    12 May 2017 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Acquire Learning, which has been teetering on the edge of the abyss for some time, has tumbled into voluntary administration.  The appointed administrator says recent regulatory changes appear to have had a significant impact on Acquire's business model. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Acquire Learning was an education broker and recruitment service that marketed on behalf of certain RTOs who were responsible for accepting and finalising the enrolments, although it did eventually acquire its own two training providers. Acquire’s website and social media accounts have been suspended for months, the … [Read more...]

TDA and ACPET oppose Labor’s VET FEE-HELP cap

TDA cautions against capping loans for TAFE students TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) has welcomed the federal opposition’s plan to find savings from the poorly administered VET FEE-HELP loan scheme, with the overwhelming amount of funds flowing to private colleges. A number of unscrupulous private colleges have taken advantage of the system, with some colleges referred to police and ASIC, after thousands of students did not complete courses and were left with large debts or qualifications of dubious quality. However, TDA had not been consulted on Labor’s additional idea to cap VET FEE-HELP student loans at $8,000 per year. TDA expressed concern at the inflexibility this entails for … [Read more...]

What’s the objection to VET FEE-HELP cap?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The ALP's proposal to cap VET FEE-HELP loans at $8,000 has been criticised as "arbitrary" and "too low". People ought to read the policy before criticising it: it actually allows for an exemption when a higher fee can be justified. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… So what's wrong with that? Providers ought to be allowed to charge unjustifiably high fees and sling the cost off to the taxpayer? Here's a couple of facts and figures to ponder. Course tuition fees have increased from an average of $4,060 in 2009 to $14,018 in 2015 and average loans per student have more than doubled from $4,861 in 2009 to $10,739 in 2015. Most of this … [Read more...]

Labor proposes VET FEE-HELP cap

6 May 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Labor has proposed an $8000 annual cap on the VET FEE-HELP loan scheme, which has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to colleges which have targeted vulnerable people, had abysmal completion rates and left thousands of students with huge debts, many of which won’t be repaid. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Higher education spokesman Kim Carr said the cap would provide protection for students and reduce the call on the budget, as taxpayers are bankrolling unscrupulous private colleges under current ­arrangements. He said: The average cost to providers is less than $4000, so there is still plenty of room for people to … [Read more...]

The Scan #179 5 May 2016

A few cuts, no frills 4 May 2016   |   The government has pushed consideration of proposed university reforms, including a 20% cut in funding, out beyond the election, until 1 January 2018.  While it has ruled out full fee deregulation, it has released an options paper, to guide a consultation process, canvassing a range of alternative fee measures which would still see substantial fee rises.  The 2016 Budget also sees an efficiency dividend of $1.2 billion on legislated dropped but the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program has been cut by $152 million to $553 million over four years.  The Office of Learning and Teaching has been abolished, with the resulting $18 million in … [Read more...]

Phoenix chief faces forgery allegations

Fairfax Media    |    28 April 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Ivan Brown, who ran one of Australia's fastest-growing vocational colleges, Phoenix Institute, is being investigated for allegedly forging documents to reap more than $100 million in taxpayer funds. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… Federal Police search warrants say they have "reasonable grounds for suspecting" Brown, the made false documents or caused them to be made "with the intention to influence the Commonwealth to accept on-line students as genuinely enrolled and participating in training". Police raided the offices of Phoenix's parent company, Australian Careers Network, in April in search of … [Read more...]

Redesigning VET FEE-HELP

4 May 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The federal government has proposed a set of tougher measures to fix the VET FEE-HELP blow-out in a discussion paper released on 29 April.   The minister for vocational education and skills senator Scott Ryan said the paper will pave the way for a full redesign of the scheme. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… The discussion paper catalogues the scale of malpractice by some providers, such as the targeting of low socio-economic status and vulnerable people with inducements to enroll and misleading potential students about their repayment commitments. The paper reveals that a small number of VET FEE-HELP providers dominate the … [Read more...]

Police raid ACN headquarters

Fraud investigation escalates 12 April 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The headquarters of major vocational education outfit Australian Careers Network have been raided by the Australian Federal Police as part of a fraud investigation. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… AFP spokesman confirmed police raided the company's offices in Spotswood "for a Department of Education and Training led investigation". ACN founder Ivan Brown, a former Victorian Police Officer turned vocational education bigwig running a company worth about $180 million, declined to comment when reached by Fairfax Media on Tuesday morning. Only a few days ago, Mr Brown told ABC radio he was "not a … [Read more...]

The Scan # 178 12 April 2016

TAFE does heavy lifting - TDA 12 April 2016   |    A TAFE Directors Australia (TDA)-commissioned analysis of official data reveals ‘for profit’ private training colleges have gained a massive 75% share of the $3 billion Commonwealth VET FEE-HELP funding, while the public TAFE sector continues to do the “heavy lifting”.  The performance of Australia’s 57 TAFE Institutes emerges strongly, dominating all major state and territory VET-funded ‘fields of education’ and trade apprenticeships. While TAFE delivered 63% of enrolments across the majority of fields of education, Commonwealth allocation of student loans to TAFE fell to just 20% in 2014, and the government’s own emergency legislation to … [Read more...]

TAFE does the heavy lifting

Report shows  mismatch between federal VET student loan funding and skill priorities TDA NEWS    |    12 April 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… A TAFE Directors Australia (TDA)-commissioned analysis of official data reveals ‘for profit’ private training colleges have gained a massive 75% share of the $3 billion Commonwealth VET FEE-HELP funding, while the public TAFE sector continues to do the “heavy lifting”. …………………………………………………………………………………….......……   The research was undertaken for TDA by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). TDA sought the NCVER analysis to assess courses, funding, educational outcomes, market share, completions and … [Read more...]