Being prepared for the changes under the new VET Student
Loans scheme may be the difference between sink or
With the Christmas and New Year festivities well and truly over,
the luxury of slowly easing back into your regular work routine
cannot afford to be taken by any Vocational Education Training
Provider (Provider). So shake off that holiday hangover and read up
because the VET Sector is getting an overhaul.
The VET Student Loans Act 2016 (the Act) commenced on
the first of January this year, and has wide-ranging reforms for
all aspects of the VET Sector. The Act was unsurprisingly a
response to the previous VET FEE-HELP Scheme which was described by
the National Audit Office as having 'poor design and a lack
This article is the first of a series that will help Providers
understand and adapt to the different design and increased
monitoring under the new scheme. Along with increased requirements
upon Providers, competition will become more pronounced as new loan
caps and restrictions on course availability kick in.
Becoming an Approved Course Provider is the most urgent aspect
of the new changes and will be addressed in this article. The
application date is drawing near and the process is rigorous, so be
across the new requirements and send your application in by the
deadline or wave goodbye to government funding.
How to become an Approved Course Provider
Regardless of whether you are a provisional Provider or not,
come 1 July 2017 only Approved Course Providers will be eligible to
receive VET Student Loans. Applications to become an Approved
Course Provider close at 11:59pm on 19 February 2017. Missing this
deadline will lock Providers out until an annual application
process has been developed and approved by the Department of
Education of Education and Training.
And remember, just completing the form may not cut it as only
'high quality providers offering courses with positive
outcomes for students gain approval' (The Department of
Education and Training).
Along with the usual information you would expect to be included
in the application (such as key personnel, Provider and course
details) the most important section is the Provider Suitability
Requirement (PSR) criteria. The PSR criteria require evidence of
five key Provider characteristics:
Financial Performance: This means you need
professionally prepared financial documents showing you that your
'organisation has sound financial management structures in
Strong Management and Governance: You need to
demonstrate a 'strong commitment to good governance,
accountability and data integrity'.
Experience in Providing Quality Vocational
Education: The Department is looking for Provider's to
demonstrate that they have a strong history of quality education
Student Outcomes: You need to sell to the
Department that your Provider has a commitment to 'genuine
student engagement' and substantiate it through course
completion rates and student employment outcomes.
Workplace Relevance: The Department is
limiting funding to course with a 'high national priority'.
Linking your courses to state subsidy/skill lists or science,
technology, engineering and mathematics is vital for funding. After
this you also need to demonstrate involvement with the industry
that your courses relate to.
The application process may be daunting for prospective
Providers seeking entry to the VET Sector, but will be equally
challenging for existing Providers (even if they have a dedicated
compliance team). If the above requirements haven't snapped you
out of holiday mode then you are either already prepared or looking
for work in a different industry.
Stay tuned for the rest of our VET Sector series in the months
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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