Tuition Protection and Provider Default

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What is tuition protection?

‘Tuition protection’ refers to the protections and assistance available to support eligible students in the event that their education provider defaults (ceases delivering their course or closes entirely).

New arrangements

From 1 January 2021 the Tuition Protection Service (TPS) has been extended to domestic higher education students who pay their course fees upfront.

This follows the extension of the TPS in 2020 to domestic students at private education providers who pay their student contribution amounts and/or tuition fees using VET Student Loans (VSL), HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP loans.

Domestic higher education students

If you are a domestic higher education student whose private provider has closed or ceased delivering a course, you may be eligible to access tuition protection assistance. You may be eligible whether you are accessing HELP loans to pay for your studies or paying upfront.

Providers of domestic higher education students

The Australian Government has expanded the successful Tuition Protection Service (TPS) for international students to include similar protections for domestic students at a private education provider. Domestic students are covered, whether they access HELP loans to pay for their studies, or pay upfront.

All non-exempt providers are required to participate in the Tuition Protection arrangements. The Tuition Protection arrangements impose obligations and requirements on providers; and provide support and protections for domestic students in the event their private education provider defaults.

The new tuition protection arrangements are sector-funded and supported by the Department of Education, and underpinned by a sustainable provider levy framework. The levy framework - developed by the Australian Government Actuary - will cover the long term costs of tuition protection by requiring all non-exempt providers to contribute annual levies commensurate with their size and risk.

In the event of a provider default, eligible students will be supported to continue their studies in an equivalent or similar course, receive a loan re credit for open units of study, or receive a refund for their upfront payments made for an affected unit.

‘Table A’ Universities, TAFEs and other Government-owned providers are exempt from the new tuition protection arrangements, with the exception of obligations relating to providing information about replacement courses and obligations of replacement providers. If these providers provide replacement units and/or courses to domestic students affected by a provider default then they must meet those replacement provider obligations.

More information

Further information, including information about tuition protection for international students, is available on the Tuition Protection Service page.

Information about tuition protection for VSL students is also available on the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations website.

Information about obligations for providers in relation to domestic higher education students is available in the Higher Education Administrative Information for Providers - March 2020 – Tuition Protection.