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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...]

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...]

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...]

Australian Careers Network collapses

15,000 students in limbo Fairfax Media   |    22 March 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Australian Careers Network (ACN) has been placed into administration, marking the end of the company's troubled time on the Australian Securities Exchange and almost certainly the prelude to its liquidation. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… This follows the Federal Court dismissing action brought by ACN subsidiary Phoenix Institute against the Department of Education for cutting $40 million federal funding to the scandal plagued college.  Justice Mark Moshinsky found while the Commonwealth was technically obliged to make the funding payments to Phoenix, the "decision by the … [Read more...]

Evocca sacks staff & closes campuses

Crack down on  VET FEE-HELP having an effect ABC News     |    17 March 2016 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Training giant Evocca College has sacked 220 staff  (out of 770) and will close more than a third of its campuses around the country. It comes after about 200 staff were let go in October, 2015. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… In a statement, the college said 17 "smaller" campuses are to be closed, affecting about 900 of its 11,000 students. Affected students have been told they can transfer to nearby campuses or study online, or a mixture of both. There have been a number of college closures around the country after the Commonwealth government cracked … [Read more...]

The Scan # 177 17 March 2016

News ______________________________________________________ Fed takeover of VET unlikely 14 March 2016   |   The newly-minted Commonwealth minister for skills, Scott Ryan,  has poured cold water on a proposed Commonwealth takeover of vocational education and training set out in a draft of a paper to go to the next meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).  Under the proposal, TAFE fees would be deregulated and TAFEs would receive the same funding.  While education Simon Birmingham has strongly advocated a Commonwealth takeover,  Ryan says there are strong arguments to maintain the current system. Ryan said redesigning the troubled VET FEE-HELP scheme - which has blown … [Read more...]

Rebalancing VET in Victoria

Review proposes "a more managed,sustainable training system" 16 December 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… The Victorian government has released the Final Report of The VET Funding Review (Mackenzie Report).  It’s a weighty document, both literally and figuratively, running to 173 pages and 109 recommendations. Skills minister Steve Herbert says the government accepts the “general thrust” of the report and its recommendations.  It will take the next year to work through design and implementation issues and to consult with stakeholders ahead of the introduction of a new funding model in 2017.  Certain matters, however, are given, such as restoring the public provider network … [Read more...]

“Further work” needed on COAG VET reforms

VET funding a “race to the bottom”, NSW skills minister says TDA News   |     14 December 2015 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, state premiers and chief ministers have agreed to more closely review reforms and regulation, which had begun under the original COAG National Partnership Agreement on skills - initially created in April 2012 under Prime Minister Julia Gillard. …………………………………………………………………………………….......…… The COAG meeting in Sydney on 11 December 2015 agreed that “further work will be undertaken on options to reform vocational education and training, for initial consideration at COAG’s first meeting in 2016, recognising that skills … [Read more...]

Comment on regulatory failure (2): The Australian

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