The Higher Education Support Act 2003 (the Act) was recently amended by the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP Reform) Act 2015 and will enact new measures from 1 January 2016 to further strengthen the scheme. These changes aim to control growth and lift the performance of training providers ahead of a more fundamental redesign of the scheme to a new model from 2017 that better reflects the unique nature and practice of the VET sector.
The amendments will:
- Strengthen the debt remission process for students under VET FEE-HELP
- Strengthen the assessment criteria for, and ongoing scrutiny of, all training providers
- Ensure student debt is incurred in line with course delivery, and establish increased protections for students
- Establish minimum pre-requisite and prior education qualification, including demonstrated literacy and numeracy requirements.
Additionally, further amendments effective from 1 January will include:
- Freezing the total loan limit for existing providers at 2015 levels
- Introducing new entry requirements for training providers wishing to offer VET FEE-HELP loans
- Moving to payment in arrears for certain providers
- Pausing payments to providers for new enrolments where there are concerns about performance.
The Government is targeting eight key areas as part of their reforms. Please refer to our VET FEE‑HELP Reforms factsheet for a clear overview of the range of reforms to enhance the integrity of the VET FEE-HELP scheme ahead of the introduction of a new model in 2017.
Providers can access further details on these changes on the Help Resources for Providers page. If you are a student and wanting to know how these changes affect you, please visit the Study Assist website at www.studyassist.gov.au.
Providers wanting to apply to have their Language Literacy and Numeracy tool approved should read the VET FEE-HELP Language Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) assessment tool information document.