The Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said the Coalition Government’s new VET Student Loans program is a “win-win” for New England Electorate students and taxpayers that will ensure public funding is used only to support high quality vocational and skills courses.
Mr Joyce said the new VET Student Loans will be introduced from 1 January 2017, replacing Labor’s failed VET FEE-HELP scheme, providing better value for money for local students and families, and weeding dodgy providers out of the system.
“The new VET Student Loans program is a big win for local students in the New England Electorate and will help restore confidence in our vocational education system,” Mr Joyce said.
“The sweeping reforms announced today include tougher barriers to entry for providers, considered loan caps on courses to contain costs, stronger course eligibility criteria aligned with business and industry needs, and a focus on students successfully completing courses.
“These changes will help ensure local New England Electorate VET students are equipped with skills that would lead to employment opportunities and meet the training needs of local businesses and industry.”
The Turnbull Government’s new VET Student Loans program:
limits courses eligible for VET Student Loans to those that align with industry needs and employment outcomes,
introduces properly considered loan caps set at $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000 for courses depending on their cost of delivery,
requires students to log in to and engage with the VET Student Loans online portal to ensure they are active and legitimate enrolments,
strengthens the legislative compliance framework, including the ability to impose loan caps on providers, powers to suspend poor performing providers from the scheme, cancel their payments and revoke their approval,
bans the use of brokers and the direct soliciting of prospective students (so-called ‘cold calling’ or ‘lead generation’) and restrict arrangements for subcontracting training.
Mr Joyce said a range of support and information was available to local students and providers in the New England Electorate to help them understand, and be ready for the new scheme.
“As well as a public information campaign we will be holding stakeholder sessions and providing resources to explain what is required of both students and providers under the new scheme,” Mr Joyce said.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the new VET Student Loans program was a big win for taxpayers as it will deliver an estimated reduction in total outstanding HELP debt of more than $7 billion across the forward estimates and $25 billion over the next 10 years.
“From the high chair to higher education, the Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring Australians have access to the opportunities and skills they need for life and are encouraged into learning that will ensure they are job-ready and can contribute to the economy,” Minister Birmingham said.
“The waste and rorting and damage to vocational education simply cannot continue and I call on my Parliamentary colleagues to work with the Turnbull Government to help us ensure the new VET Student Loans program is legislated as quickly as possible to facilitate its commencement on 1 January 2017.”
Further information about the Turnbull Government’s new VET Student Loans scheme can be found at: http://www.education.gov.au/vet-student-loans