1. Requesting a Variation to an Approval Condition or Third Party Arrangement
Recognising the need for some flexibility, the department will consider requests from existing VET Student Loans (VSL) approved course providers (Providers) for:
- additional approved courses to be added to the scope of their approval;
- increased provider fee limits for a particular period, for a particular course or both; and
- written approval of bodies to deliver training in courses for the Provider (Third Party Arrangements).
This quick reference guide provides a workflow/checklist to assist Providers to prepare their application.
Are there set periods of time a Provider must submit its request by?
No. A Provider can submit a request for a variation to its approved courses, its provider fee limits, or for approval of new or renewed Third Party Arrangements at any time during the year.
Requests received by the department by 30 September each year will usually be determined in time for any resultant variations and approvals to be in place to enable course delivery in the first half of the calendar year. Requests received by the department by 31 March each year will usually be determined to enable course delivery in the second half of the calendar year.
Who can make requests and what should be included in a request?
To be actioned by the department, a request must be submitted by a person who the Provider has nominated in the department's HELP Information Technology System (HITS) as a contact. Section 2, below, indicates what type of supporting information should be included in requests.
While the department may still consider a request that does not include the specified supporting information, please be aware that this may impact on of the timeliness of the processing of the Provider's request.
The information requested by the department is important to enable a thorough assessment of the appropriateness of agreeing to the Provider's request. While the department may sometimes request that a Provider provide further supporting information regarding its request, it is not obliged to do so. Therefore, Providers should ensure that their request is complete when submitted.
Are there any templates or forms we should use to submit this request?
Yes. You can request a template from the department to assist in providing your business case by using the online enquiry form.
How long will it take for my application to be considered?
As described above, the time taken to assess your request will be effected by: (i) the date of submission of your request; (ii) whether your request includes complete supporting information; and (iii) the timeliness of your response to any requests from the department for further information.
How do I submit a Request to the Department?
Applications must be uploaded to HITS and notification of the application must be sent to the department using the online enquiry form. Selecting the appropriate option ensures your request goes to the correct area for action.
In the online enquiry form, select "Provider Operations" from the "What is your enquiry regarding?" field, and then select the appropriate option from the "What is your enquiry about?" field? Insert in the enquiry text field:
- Request to vary provider fee limit - [provider name]
- Request for additional courses - [provider name]
- Application – TPA approval request - [provider name]
2. Applying to offer VSL for Additional Approved Courses
Can I request any type of course to be added to my scope of approval?
No. A Provider can only include a course in their application which is:
- on the current VET Student Loans (Courses and Loan Caps) Determination 2016; and
- within the Provider's current registered training organisation scope of approval (see the National VET Register at training.gov.au).
Are there circumstances where I don't need to make an application?
Yes. A Provider's conditions of approval makes arrangements for superseding courses. If a course added to the VET Student Loans (Courses and Loan Caps) Determination 2016 supersedes a qualification a Provider is already approved to offer VSL, and the replacement course is on the Provider's registered training organisation scope of registration, then no request or business case is required.
However, in all other circumstances a Provider must submit an application. Requests that cover more than one additional course should be sent as a consolidated request.
What supporting information do I need to provide in my request?
You must include a business case which is substantiated by verifiable and materially probative evidence. Your business case should set out:
- The Provider's recent experience of delivering the course or relevant similar courses (e.g. experience delivering a Certificate III/IV in Nursing is relevant to a request to offer VSL for a Diploma of Nursing; but experience delivering the old Certificate IV in Ceramics would not be relevant);
- The Provider's student progression track record, that is concise numerical data on unit and course completion, for all relevant courses (particularly Certificate IV or other courses for which the Provider does not submit student data through the Higher Education Information Management Systems (HEIMS) student outcomes reporting system);
- For each additional course that the request relates to, an estimate of (a) the anticipated number of students projected to enrol in the course in the calendar year, or part year as appropriate, in which the course is first sought to be offered under the VSL Program; and (b) the anticipated dollar value of additional VSL projected to be sought by students in the course if the request is approved;
- The ongoing linkages between the Provider and employers (or industry groups) relevant to the future career opportunities of students who enrol in the requested additional courses;
- Non-generic, signed and dated references from industry and other relevant bodies substantiating each claim made by the Provider in its business case about (a) the relevance of the requested additional course to the skills needs of their workplace; and (b) the improvement in employment outcomes to be obtained by those completing the units/courses nominated in the Provider's request;
- The most recent qualitative and quantitative results of the Provider's interactive assessment of its student satisfaction with the quality and career value of the training the students have received through the Provider;
- Details and evidence of the qualifications of the trainers and assessors of the requested additional courses;
- Whether the course can be delivered within the Provider's current provider fee limit or whether the Provider also seeks an increase to its provider fee limit. If an increase is sought, the amount of the increase sought should be expressly stated (taking into account appropriate reduction for part year arrangements).
3. Applying to increase your Provider Fee Limits
A provider fee limit is the VSL amount that can be paid to a provider for a particular period, for a particular course or for a particular course for a particular period.
Providers have the opportunity to submit an evidence-based business case to support a request to increase their provider fee limit for a particular period or for a particular course. The business case must include details for each course for which the provider is seeking an increase. The business case should be no longer than four pages and meet the requirements listed below.
What supporting information do I need to provide in my request?
You must include a business case substantiated with verifiable and materially probative evidence.
Your business case should set out:
- a list of the approved courses the Provider is approved to offer under the VSL Program;
- the proposed fee limit increase for each approved course requested;
- the rationale, based on market need, for each of the courses where an increase is requested;
- the Provider's demonstrated track record of student progression and completions for approved courses where an increase is requested (e.g. concise numerical data on unit and course completion);
- expected numbers of students for each course where an increase is requested;
- the most recent results of the organisation's assessment of student satisfaction in the courses where an increase is requested; and
- the proposed student intake per course, where relevant, of displaced students whose providers ceased to provide their course after it started and before it was completed.
More detailed information is available in section 5.2 of the VET Student Loans Manual for Providers.
4. Third Party Arrangement Requests
A key design of the VSL Program was to provide greater protections for students, increased rigour around the approval of training providers to offer VSL and restrictions on who can deliver the training.
Therefore, under section 15 of the VET Student Loans Act 2016 (Act), training for approved courses is restricted to (a) approved course providers (b); to providers registered by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA); and (c) bodies specifically approved in writing by the Delegate to deliver the training for the course.
If a provider proposes to have parts or components (eg. a unit of competency from the relevant training package) of a unit or course delivered by another party (eg. a contractor or another organisation or entity), prior approval must be obtained from the department.
What evidence should be submitted in support of a new or renewed third party arrangement?
You must include a business case which is substantiated by verifiable and materially probative evidence.
Your business case should include:
- verifiable evidence of the skills, qualifications and relevant experience of the third party (eg. a company, an association, a partnership or an individual); and
- a copy of the agreement between your organisation and the third party.
In addition, your request should address each of the elements of section 4.6.4 of the VET Student Loans Manual for Providers.
5. Non Reviewable Decision
A decision by the delegate to vary a provider's conditions of approval, to add an additional approved course or increase the provider fee limit (under section 34 of the Act) or to approve a Third Party Arrangement (under section 15 of the Act) is not a reviewable decision under section 74 of the Act. Section 81 of the Act provides for reconsideration of other (non reviewable) decisions where there is sufficient reason to do so.
Any queries from Providers should be submitted using the dedicated online enquiry form.