Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP)
These proposed Government amendments to the Higher Education Support Amendment (VET FEE-HELP Reform) Bill 2015 (the Bill) seek to further enhance protections for students and taxpayers and ensure the VET FEE-HELP scheme is sustainable into the future.
The proposed amendments build on the measures introduced over the course of 2015 to strengthen consumer protections for students and set clear standards with regard to marketing and enrolment practices for VET FEE-HELP providers.
These amendments are focused on ensuring the VET FEE-HELP scheme is affordable for students and taxpayers and that training providers are more accountable for their practices performance.
The Government amendments will:
- freeze total VET FEE-HELP loan amounts for existing VET providers at 2015 levels;
- introduce new entry requirements for registered training providers seeking to offer VET FEE-HELP loans;
- move from payments in advance to payments in arrears for the largest training providers and set new reporting requirements;
- allow the government to pause payments to providers with poor performance pending resolution of performance issues; and
- make other minor amendments to:
- expand the appointment of investigators to external non-government bodies to better cope with expertise and resourcing requirements; and
- allow fee charging associated with attesting to the veracity of a provider's literacy and numeracy testing tool.