Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, the Honourable Julia Gillard MP)
General outline and financial impact
The purpose of the Bill is to provide for technical amendments to Schedule 1A of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 which clarify that a student can not access VET FEE-HELP assistance to undertake a VET unit of study, unless that VET unit of study is required to be undertaken in order for the student to receive the award associated with that course of study.
In addition, new clauses are inserted into Schedule 1A of HESA to ensure that the Minister can revoke the approval as a VET provider of a body corporate, if that body corporate no longer offers at least one VET course of study, or is no longer established under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or no longer carries on business in Australia, or no longer has its central management and control in Australia.
These amendments provide appropriate protections for the Minister and the Commonwealth. The amendments in relation to revocation of a body corporate's approval as a VET provider also mirror those made to HESA in 2007 in relation to higher education providers, ensuring consistency between the FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP Assistance Scheme provisions.
The Bill also provides for amendments to allow higher education and VET provider notices of approval to take effect on the day immediately following the day the relevant notice is registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments. The amendments provide for the repeal of the provisions governing the date of effect for such notices. The Legislative Instruments Act 2003 will operate to determine the date of effect for higher education and VET provider notices of approval. The amendments also provide that, in the event a notice of approval ceases to have effect under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 , the cessation has no effect in relation to any rights or responsibilities which have already accrued in relation to the enrolment of students with a higher education or VET provider at the time the notice of approval ceases to have effect.
The amendments will ensure that higher education and VET providers will be able to offer FEE-HELP or VET FEE-HELP assistance to students immediately following the registration of the relevant notice of higher education or VET provider approval.
There is no financial impact associated with these amendments.