Representing quality private education
providers in Australia

Just when you think it might be possible……

Monday, September 18 2017

Last week I contemplated the debate and passage of the Higher Education Bill.

Well it did pass the Lower House but it looks like there is plenty more to do to for it to pass the Senate – no surprises there. Certainly, the statement by Rebecca Sharky for team Xenophon indicates much more negotiation is to come.

That does not mean we stay idle for the next month.

The Bill remains inequitable for the students of private universities, private higher education providers and TAFE’s which deliver Higher Education courses.

At the risk of repeating myself, our students pay a 25% administration fee (and 20% in VET) on their loans through FEE-HELP to fund their studies – and in a real oddity Public university students don’t.

We certainly are working across the political spectrum to address this.
And we are not working alone.

Many of you would have seen the ‘joint ticket’ we have with COPHE and TAFE Directors Australia on this issue. If not please take a look here.

We have collaborated on this important issue because equity matters. We have jointly emphasised our reform priorities and the impact the proposed amendments will have on students and private and public providers.

We of course also raise the proposed extension of Commonwealth supported places (CSPs) to public universities to deliver approved sub-degree courses (diplomas, advanced diplomas and associate degrees).

This remains a major concern.

For those who missed it, the Bill proposes the extension of Government subsidies to sub-degree courses linked to industry needs and providing flexibility in meeting workforce demands.

Hang on, this is the space of our proud VET sector, which delivers nationally recognised training approved by industry. This creation of a perverse incentive, away from VET should not be considered lightly.

I, along with many of my Colleagues are very concerned that change will cannibalise enrolments, not only with private higher education Colleges and TAFE’s delivering Higher Education courses, but also with public and private VET providers that deliver Australian Qualifications Framework level courses through VET.

Again, together with TDA and COPHE we call for a change to the Bill so that either Government subsidies for sub-degrees include private universities, Private Higher Education providers and TAFEs or this change should be taken off the table.

Australia desperately needs a Tertiary Education Funding Framework that enables both VET and Higher Education to work in harmony, not in isolation.
If you think that’s dramatic, just compare the HELP loan program with VET Student Loans.

As I mentioned last week it really is time to get active for the benefit of Australia and Australians.

Rod Camm

Chief Executive Officer


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