10th December 2015
For those that don’t know VET FEE-HELP is a loan scheme that helps eligible VET students pay their tuition fees for certain higher-level VET qualifications.
The number of students eligible for VET FEE-HELP increased by 90% between 2013 and 2014 – a jump from around 123,000 to approximately 234,100 (taken from Australian Government Department of Education VET FEE-HELP Statistical Report).
This statistic set the loans accessed in 2013 being $699 million to more than double the amount in 2014 $1,757. Since VET FEE-HELP was first introduced in 2009 a total of $3.1 billion in loans has been accessed by VET Students.
An eligible student may access VET FEE-HELP from a VET FEE Provider for VET qualifications at the following levels:
There is a 20% loan fee which is applied to VET FEE-HELP loans for fee paying/fee for service students. The loan fee is 20 per cent of the tuition fees charged for your units of study – and it is calculated for each individual unit as you undertake your course. The loan fee is applied to each unit that is paid for with a VET FEE-HELP loan. For example, if you are undertaking a unit that costs $1,000 the loan fee is 20 per cent of $1,000 = $200. As such, your VET FEE-HELP debt for that unit will be the cost of the unit ($1,000) + the loan fee ($200) = $1,200.
This year, however, has seen the Australian Government introduce a range of reforms to improve the quality of VET industry to protect vulnerable students, taxpayers and the VET system’s reputation from a small number of unethical training providers (“Rorters”).
Because of these “rorts”, a recent Bill was passed through the House of Representatives where safeguards are now in place via auditing, monitoring and disciplinary action to ensure VET FEE-HELP Providers comply with all the new arrangements. These powers range from financial penalties and revoking a student’s unfair debt, to suspending or cancelling the Training Providers approval to offer VET FEE-HELP. This is evidence alone that the Government has had enough and is ready to crack down on the main offenders (of which there are plenty!).
At PT National, we do not offer VET FEE-HELP, nor are we going to apply in the short-term to be a Provider. These are the reasons why:-
The VET as a private sector is so competitive as there are so many to choose from, therefore prices should be competitive to ensure that the student’s education is top priority, not the fees that can be generated from them.
We at PT National, want to ensure that students ask the question “Is VET FEE-HELP the right thing for their unique learning experience”? We want to ensure students know what the prices are up front and on a payment plan BEFORE they even entertain the idea of VET FEE-HELP – we want to ensure the ‘rorters’ are penalised for inflation of figures rather than Student’s becoming just another victim.
Compliance Manager PT National
0412 696 727