Compliance activities, actions and results

For: 

VET Student Loans

The VET Student Loans program commenced on 1 January 2017, replacing the VET FEE-HELP scheme, which ceased on 31 December 2016. The VET FEE-HELP scheme will continue for eligible, existing VET FEE-HELP students that have opted-in to continue their studies under the VET FEE-HELP scheme, and providers training these students.

The new VET Student Loans program offers greater protection for students with a more rigorous application process for providers. In addition, the Department of Education and Training (the department) has enhanced compliance and regulatory powers to undertake disciplinary action against providers who breach requirements of the program and its associated Rules. For example, the department can immediately suspend a provider's approval to offer VET Student Loans in urgent circumstances, or withhold loan amount payments to providers if it is suspected, on reasonable grounds, that the provider is not compliant. Once compliance actions are completed, the department may publish a record of the action taken in the compliance results table below.

VET FEE-HELP

Following an assessment or investigation, the department can undertake a number of compliance actions against providers found to be in breach of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA)and/or the Guidelines. Once compliance actions are completed, the department may publish a record of the action taken in the compliance results table below.

Compliance actions

Compliance actions include:

  • giving of a compliance notice
  • placing conditions on a provider's approval as a VET provider
  • suspension of a provider's approval as a VET provider
  • revocation of a provider's approval as a VET provider
  • notice of intention to suspend or revoke a provider's approval as a VET provider
  • giving of civil penalty infringement notices
  • seeking civil penalty orders
  • notice of suspension, deferral or reduction of payments
  • notice regarding inadequate tuition assurance
  • joint court action with the ACCC
  • Accepting court enforceable undertakings relating to compliance with provisions of the VET Student Loans Act 2016.

Case Studies

The department has already taken a significant number of compliance actions against non-compliant providers under the VET FEE-HELP scheme. The following case studies demonstrate the department's commitment to monitoring and enforcing the compliance of VET providers with their requirements, and the potential consequences for non-compliance.

Compliance results

The department does not make public details of ongoing compliance action and will only publish details of compliance actions once the compliance decision is finalised.

Where, in view of the department, a provider publicly misrepresents findings from an audit, the department reserves the right to correct the public record.

Litigation

The department and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are currently taking action in the Federal Court of Australia against four former VET FEE-HELP providers that are alleged to have breached various provisions of the Australian Consumer Law by engaging in misleading, deceptive and unconscionable conduct.

Current Litigation

The department is a joint applicant to the following proceedings:

  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission & Anor v Phoenix Institute of Australia Pty Ltd ACN 084 806 575
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission & Anor v Australian Institute of Professional Education Pty Ltd
  • ACCC v Unique International College Pty Ltd ACN 120 557 851
  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission & Anor v Cornerstone Investment Aust Pty Ltd ACN 082 383 640

Further information about these proceedings can be found at the Department of Education and Training/ACCC Joint Litigation page.

Past Judgements

Audits

As part of the on-going management and monitoring of the VET Student Loans Program, the department has commenced 12 VSL approved provider audits. The audits have been undertaken by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) on behalf of the Department. Any compliance actions resulting from these audits will be published in the Compliance Actions table below.

Since 2016, the department has audited 33 VFH providers and has undertaken over 40 civil investigations into other providers. While the audit process is still ongoing, seven providers have been suspended for poor performance based on concerns identified during the audit process. These seven providers were excluded from the VET Student Loans scheme. The department has taken other compliance action against providers following audit findings including revocation of approval to deliver VET FEE-HELP, issuing infringement notices and compliance notices, formal warning letters and deferral of payments.

Off-site compliance monitoring

The top 5 reasons why a provider is non-compliant under VET Student Loans, based on off-site reviews.

Compliance testing and monitoring conducted by the department includes:

  • on-site compliance monitoring:  compliance inspections, evaluations, and investigations (including review of data and other documentation).
  • off-site compliance monitoring:  data collection, review, reporting, oversight, and support.

The department understands that most VET Student Loans providers are willing and able to comply with the requirements of the VET Student Loans program. Accordingly, a key aspect of the department’s compliance strategy is to support providers to maintain voluntary compliance and minimise the compliance burden on providers where possible.

Testing and monitoring is a critical element to an effective compliance strategy which supports quality assurance within the Program. As part of this process the department reviews provider websites and social media to confirm compliance with the publishing requirements of the VET Student Loans Act 2016 (VSL Act) and the VET Student Loans Rules 2016 (VSL Rules). This review is an internal departmental process and is separate to VSL audits conducted by Australian Skills Quality Authority on behalf of the department.

From the commencement of VSL to present day a total of 180 registered training organisations (RTOs) operated as approved course providers for VET Student Loans. As at 28 August 2018, the department has completed 61 off-site provider reviews. Of these, 24 providers have been sent warning letters requesting possible non-compliance be addressed within 7 days.

As a result of monitoring and review activity, the department has identified the top 5 processes and procedures that are overlooked by approved VSL providers.

Top 5 non-compliance processes and procedures overlooked by VSL providers

  1.  Fee periods (Clause 123 VSL Rules)
  2. Fees for approved courses (Clause 115 VSL Rules)
  3.  Publishing determination of census days (Clause 132 VSL Rules)
  4. Results of assessments of competence in reading and numeracy (Clause 81 VSL Rules)
  5.  Information about fees (Clause 141 VSL Rules)

Click on the link to view the latest version of the VET Student Loans Rules 2016

All compliance actions are published on the VET Student Loans and VET FEE-HELP Compliance | Department of Education and Training website.

Infringement notices

To date, five separate providers have paid a total of 59 infringement notices for a range of contraventions of Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Five VET Student Loans providers have paid a total of ten infringement notices for breaches of the VET Student Loans Act 2016.

Compliance actions

Legal Name

Decision Type

Effective Date

Comments

Status of Decision

ACN 007 152 561 Pty Ltd (formerly Republica Education Pty Ltd)

Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP

1/03/2017

Compliance notice under c26A(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with agent agreement and agent publication requirements.

Finalised

ACN 007 152 561 Pty Ltd (formerly Republica Education Pty Ltd)

Voluntary Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

1/04/2017

Voluntary Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.39(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Finalised

ACT Education Group Pty Ltd

Notice of Suspension for poor performance - VET FEE-HELP

22/12/2016

Suspension of approval as a VET provider under sc.36(5) of  Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Finalised

ACT Education Group Pty Ltd

Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP

24/03/2017

Compliance notice under c26A(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with student entry procedure, information provision to students, fee, invoicing, census dates, Commonwealth Assistance Notice, withdrawal procedure, and agent agreement requirements.

Finalised

ACT Education Group Pty Ltd

Voluntary Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

11/05/2017

Voluntary Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.39(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Finalised

ACTE Pty Ltd

Infringement Notice/s - VET FEE-HELP

23/01/2017

Payment of nine infringement notices for alleged contraventions of c.39DH of Schedule 1A of the HESA.
Payment of the infringement notices does not constitute an admission of guilt or liability.

Finalised

Adamattrin Pty Ltd as Trustee for Mesaric Family Trust

Notice of Suspension for poor performance - VET FEE-HELP

22/12/2016

Suspension of approval as a VET provider under sc.36(5) of  Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Finalised

Adamattrin Pty Ltd as Trustee for Mesaric Family Trust

Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP

6/06/2017

Compliance notice under c26A(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with publication of agents and associates, notification of independent financial advice, and withdrawal procedure requirements.

Finalised

Advanced Education Australia Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval – VET FEE-HELP

28/11/2017

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under c33 and 34 of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the VET quality and accountability requirements.

Finalised

ASCET Institute of Technology Pty Ltd (Vic)

Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

23/12/2016

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.33(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the Tuition Assurance requirements and VET quality and accountability requirements.

Finalised

Australasian Beauty Therapy Academy Pty Ltd

Infringement Notice/s - VET Student Loans

30/10/17 & 31/10/2017

Payment of three infringement notices for alleged contraventions of s.64 of the VSL Act.  
Payment of the infringement notices does not constitute an admission of guilt or liability.

Finalised

Australian Business Academy Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval – VET FEE-HELP

2/06/2017

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under c29B of Schedule 1A of the HESA as the provider ceased to be listed as a registered training organisation on the National Register.

Finalised

Australian College of Applied Education Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval – VET FEE-HELP

20/09/2017

Revocation of approval as a VET provider underc.33 and 34 of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the VET quality and accountability requirements in relation to financial viability.

Finalised

Australian Institute of Holistic Medicine Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval – VET FEE-HELP

11/04/2016

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under c29B of Schedule 1A of the HESA as the provider ceased to be listed as a registered training organisation on the National Register.

Finalised

Australian Institute of Management Education and Training Pty Ltd

Infringement Notice/s - VET FEE-HELP

25/05/2017

Payment of 28 infringement notices for alleged contraventions of c.39DE of Schedule 1A of the HESA. 
Payment of the infringement notices does not constitute an admission of guilt or liability.

Finalised

Australian Institute of Management Education and Training Pty Ltd Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP 18/12/2017 Compliance notice under c.26A(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with invoicing, Commonwealth Assistance Notice, census dates, student entry procedure and agent agreement publication requirements. Finalised

Australian Institute of Personal Trainers Pty Ltd

Infringement Notice/s - VET FEE-HELP

21/03/2017

Payment of five infringement notices for alleged contraventions of c.39DH of Schedule 1A of the HESA.
Payment of the infringement notices does not constitute an admission of guilt or liability.

Finalised

Australian Institute of Personal Trainers Pty Ltd Voluntary Revocation of Approval – VET FEE-HELP 17/01/2018 Voluntary Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.39(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA. Finalised

Australian Institute of Professional Education Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

19/10/2016

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.33(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the Tuition Assurance requirements and VET quality and accountability requirements.

Finalised

Australian Vocational Learning Institute Pty Ltd Revocation of Approval – VET FEE-HELP 06/02/2018 Revocation of approval as a VET provider under c.29B of Schedule 1a of the HESA as the provider ceased to be listed as a registered training organisation on the national register Finalised

Beauty & Hair Academy of Australia Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval – VET FEE-HELP

20/04/2017

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under c29B of Schedule 1A of the HESA as the provider ceased to be listed as a registered training organisation on the National Register.

Finalised

Bruce Hartwig Flying School Pty Ltd

Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP

22/09/2016

Compliance notice under c26A(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with application consideration and decision requirements.

Finalised

Careers Australia Education Institute Pty Ltd

Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP

24/03/2017

Compliance notice under c26A(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with notice issued under c24 of Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Finalised

Careers Australia Education Institute Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval – VET FEE-HELP

24/11/2017

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under c29B of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to the provider ceasing to be listed as a registered training organisation on the National Register.

Finalised

Churchill Education Pty Ltd as Trustee for the Decelle Investment Trust

Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP

31/07/2017

Compliance notice under c26A(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with student invoicing and Commonwealth Assistance Notice requirements.

Finalised

College of Creative Design and Arts Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

12/07/2016

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.33(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the VET quality and accountability requirements in relation to financial viability.

Finalised

Conwal and Associates Pty Ltd 

Notice of Suspension for poor performance - VET FEE-HELP

22/12/2016

Suspension of approval as a VET provider under sc.36(5) of  Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Finalised

Conwal and Associates Pty Ltd 

Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

20/03/2017

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.33(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the Tuition Assurance requirements and VET quality and accountability requirements.

Finalised

Cornerstone Investment Aust Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval – VET FEE-HELP

24/01/2017

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under c29B of Schedule 1A of the HESA as the provider ceased to be listed as a registered training organisation on the National Register.

Finalised

DLDC Pty Ltd

Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP

4/04/2017

Compliance notice under c26A(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with student entry procedure publication and fee period requirements.

Finalised

Franklyn Scholar (Australia) Pty Ltd

Notice of Suspension for poor performance - VET FEE-HELP

22/12/2016

Suspension of approval as a VET provider under sc.36(5) of  Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Finalised

Franklyn Scholar (Australia) Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

20/03/2017

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.33(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the Tuition Assurance requirements and VET quality and accountability requirements.

Finalised

Harvest Education Technical College Pty Ltd as a trustee for HETC Trust

Infringement Notice/s - VET FEE-HELP

15/03/2017

Payment of three infringement notices for alleged contraventions of c.39DH of Schedule 1A of the HESA.
Payment of the infringement notices does not constitute an admission of guilt or liability.

Finalised

Harvest Education Technical College Pty Ltd as a trustee for HETC Trust

Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP

21/07/2017

Compliance notice under c26(A) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with requirements for student entry procedure, agent agreement, and agent agreement publication.

Finalised

Impel Solutions Pty Ltd as Trustee for The Hall Investment Trust

Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

24/11/2016

Revocation of approval as a VET provider undersc.33(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the VET quality and accountability requirements in relation to financial viability.

Finalised

International Screen Academy Pty Ltd Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP  13/05/2016 Compliance notice under c26(A) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with Tuition Assurance requirements and VET quality and accountability requirements.   Finalised

Jigsaw Consulting Group Pty Ltd

Infringement Notice/s - VET Student Loans

13/07/2017

Payment of two infringement notices for alleged contraventions of s.64 of the VSL Act. 
Payment of the infringement notices does not constitute an admission of guilt or liability.

Finalised

Kirana Training Pty Ltd Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP 15/11/2017 Compliance notice under c.26A(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with student entry procedure, invoicing, publication, and agent agreement requirements Finalised

Metro Screen Limited

Revocation of approval – VET FEE-HELP

5/08/2016

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under c29B of Schedule 1A of the HESA as the provider ceased to be listed as a registered training organisation on the National Register.

Finalised

New England Institute of Technology Pty Ltd Notice of Immediate Suspension – VET Student Loans 12/02/2018 Immediate suspension of approval as a VET provider under s.37(1) of the VSL Act where the Secretary suspects on reasonable grounds that there is non-compliance and that the circumstances require urgent action Finalised
New England Institute of Technology Pty Ltd Voluntary Revocation of Approval – VET Student Loans 23/04/2018 Voluntary Revocation of approval as a VET provider under s.38 of the VSL Act Finalised
New York Film Academy Australia Pty Ltd Compliance Notice - VET Student Loans 27/07/2018 Compliance notice under subsection 43(2) of the VSL Act for not publishing processes and procedures on its website and must be accessible without login information.

 

New York Film Academy Australia Pty Ltd

Infringement Notice/s - VET Student Loans

 08/06/2017

Payment of two infringement notices for alleged contraventions of s.64 of the VSL Act.  
Payment of the infringement notices does not constitute an admission of guilt or liability.

Finalised

Performance Development Group Pty Ltd (formerly Asia Pacific Training Institute Pty Ltd)

Notice of Suspension for poor performance - VET FEE-HELP

22/12/2016

Suspension of approval as a VET provider under sc.36(5) of  Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Finalised

Performance Development Group Pty Ltd (formerly Asia Pacific Training Institute Pty Ltd)

Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

20/03/2017

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.33(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the Tuition Assurance requirements and VET quality and accountability requirements.

Finalised

Phoenix Institute of Australia Pty Ltd

Notice of Suspension pending revocation

07/02/2016

Suspension of approval as a VET provider under sc.36(1) of  Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Finalised

Phoenix Institute of Australia Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

31/03/2016

Revocation of approval as a VET provider sc.33(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the VET quality and accountability requirements in relation to Tuition Assurance, use of prohibited inducements and Standards for NVR Registered Training Organisations.

Finalised

Productivity Partners Pty Ltd

Notice of Suspension for poor performance - VET FEE-HELP

22/12/2016

Suspension of approval as a VET provider under sc.36(5) of  Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Finalised

Smart City Vocational College Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

20/03/2017

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.33(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the Tuition Assurance requirements and VET quality and accountability requirements.

Finalised

SMR Learning Services Pty Ltd

Infringement Notice/s - VET Student Loans

18/05/2017

Payment of two infringement notices for alleged contraventions of s.64 of the VSL Act. 
Payment of the infringement notices does not constitute an admission of guilt or liability.

Finalised

Study Group Australia Pty Ltd

Infringement Notice/s - VET FEE-HELP

7/03/2017

Payment of 14 infringement notices for alleged contraventions of c.39DH of Schedule 1A of the HESA.
Payment of the infringement notices does not constitute an admission of guilt or liability.

Finalised

Tabor College Inc (WA)

Revocation of approval – VET FEE-HELP

16/08/2016

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under c29B of Schedule 1A of the HESA as the provider ceased to be listed as a registered training organisation on the National Register.

Finalised

Tandem College Pty Ltd

Notice of Immediate Suspension – VET Student Loans

03/04/2018

Immediate suspension of approval as a VET provider under s.37(1) of the VSL Act where the Secretary suspects on reasonable grounds that there is non-compliance and that the circumstances require urgent action.

 

Tandem College Pty Ltd

Compliance Notice – VET Student Loans

25/05/2018

Compliance notice under subsection 43(2) of the Act for not complying with requirements to not use a broker or agent.

 
The Australian Academy of Business Pty Ltd Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP 27/10/2017 Compliance notice under c26A(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with invoicing and Commonwealth Assistance Notice requirements. Finalised

The Design Works College of Design Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

12/07/2016

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.33(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the VET quality and accountability requirements in relation to financial viability.

Finalised

The Malka Group Pty Ltd

Infringement Notice/s - VET Student Loans

24/05/2017

Payment of one infringement notice for alleged contraventions of s.64 of the VSL Act.  
Payment of the infringement notices does not constitute an admission of guilt or liability.

Finalised

The trustee for the Life Coaching Institute trust Compliance Notice – VET FEE-HELP 18/12/2017 Compliance notice under c26A(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA for not complying with census dates and Commonwealth Assistance Notice requirements. Finalised

Training and Development Australia Pty Ltd

Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

5/02/2016

Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.33(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA due to a breach of the VET quality and accountability requirements in relation to financial viability.

Finalised

Unique International College Pty Ltd

Notice of Suspension for poor performance - VET FEE-HELP

22/12/2016

Suspension of approval as a VET provider under sc.36(5) of  Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Finalised

Unique International College Pty Ltd

Voluntary Revocation of approval - VET FEE-HELP

18/04/2017

Voluntary Revocation of approval as a VET provider under sc.39(1) of Schedule 1A of the HESA.

Finalised

Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) regulatory decisions

ASQA publishes information about certain regulatory decisions it makes, in order to:

  • assist students and potential students to make informed decisions about choosing a provider
  • provide industry, government and the public with accurate information on ASQA's regulatory activity