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Major overhaul of VET FEE-HELP being finalised - Ai Group Comment

"Ai Group welcomes the further details announced today of the major overhaul of the VET FEE-HELP loans scheme to be implemented from next year which will in part help to weed out unacceptable and unethical practices in the sector," Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said today.

"The Government is considering imposing limits on the amount of loans to students for vocational courses and restricting funding to courses with strong employment outcomes. It is considering a staggered system of loan limits which reflect the differential cost of courses. Ai Group supports the moves in this direction.

"It is encouraging to see in the announcement by Senator Birmingham, the Minister for Education and Training, that the government is determined to address issues which have damaged the reputation and standing of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. Recent data from the NCVER indicates a fall in the overall number of VET students which suggests that too many people are turning away from the sector.

"It is crucial that those with unacceptable and unethical practices are given no place in the scheme and that it only includes training providers of high quality. The overall cost of the loans scheme needs to be reined in while maintaining a scheme that is fair to students and does not saddle them with significant debt. The loans scheme must be more closely related to the actual costs of courses and the potential for employment outcomes.

"This is the clearest sign of the Government's policy direction since the freeze on the loans scheme last year. Legislation is expected this year to enable a new system to begin in 2017. The passage of this legislation is vital to restore confidence in the system and produce quality graduates for the growing economy," Mr Willox said.  

Media Enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347