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Election Watch 2016 launched

Election Watch is a guide to the 2016 Australian federal election run out of the University of Melbourne’s School of Government which aims to: provide independent political analysis and debate; explore the current state of Australian electoral politics; provide a resource that delves into policies and issues; present a suite of public events to include the community in election analysis. Election Watch will publish articles of news and analysis; publish a ‘library’ of primary policy documents; and compile a resource of campaign advertisements. 2615       … [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...]

Running, jumping, standing still

The Conversation     |    4 May 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… What now? asks Gavin Moodie (RMIT) in The Conversation. While across-the-board full fee deregulation has now been dumped by the Coalition, fee deregulation of so-called "flagship courses", first mooted in the Review of Base Funding in 2011 (with the significant qualification that such fees be capped at plus 50% above what they would otherwise be), looks a hot prospect for a  re-elected Coalition government  (as does a raising of the cap on other courses by some percentage). That is, of course, still moot: an incoming Labor government would be ostensibly committed to additional public investment in higher … [Read more...]

International education strategy launched

4 May 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… With international education worth $19.6 billion to the Australian economy in 2015, the government has provided $12 million in the Budget to fund the National Strategy for International Education 2025 released on 30 April. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… The strategy actually has 3 parts: The National Strategy for International Education 2025 itself, which reflects a “whole-of-sector” approach and sets out a 10-year plan for further developing Australia’s position as a global leader in education and training. The national strategy is based around three pillars: “strengthening the fundamentals” (including improvements to … [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...]

A few cuts, no thrills for unis in 2016 Budget

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 and 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. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… 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 … [Read more...]