Dr Don Perlgut, CEO, Community Colleges Australia, 3 July 2017
In the last two weeks, we have more news about the latest shameful behaviour of for-profit VET providers. Will it ever end? Below we list the latest news on five for-profit VET and higher education providers: Unique International College, Get Qualified Australia, Sage Institute, Careers Australia and Australian School of Management.
This is what happens when education becomes just another business – a commodity to be bought and sold, and loses its connection with social good and societal advancement.
Sydney Morning Herald: “Unique Internal College Was Misleading and Unconscionable Court Finds”
A private education college that saddled vulnerable students with debt after inducing them with free laptops, made false or misleading representations and engaged in behaviour amounting to unconscionable conduct, the Federal Court has found.
Unique International College sold VET FEE-HELP diploma courses that cost between $10,000 and $25,000, using door-to-door sales tactics in disadvantaged communities, including former Aboriginal missions in Wagga Wagga, Walgett, Bourke and Taree, in 2014 and 2015.
Sydney Morning Herald: “Get Qualified Australia Consumers Still Out of Pocket Despite Court Action”
Migration lawyer Samuel Brouff had a feeling “something was up” when he cycled from Surry Hills to the CBD office of the now-disgraced education consultant Get Qualified Australia.
It was March this year and his client Santiago Rillo, from Argentina, was urgently waiting to receive a Certificate IV in commercial cookery, a requirement to ensure the extension of his Australian visa.
The Guardian: “College Made Millions by Tricking Indigenous People Court Finds”
A vocational training college made tens of millions of dollars by tricking disadvantaged and Indigenous communities into signing up to expensive diploma courses, a court has found.
Unique International College used a misleading and unlawful scheme to target vulnerable communities in 2014 and 2015, pushing individuals to enrol in courses in management, salon management and marketing.
The scandal-plagued Sage Institute has confirmed it will close its Victorian campuses after suspending classes and leaving hundreds of students in the lurch.
The private training college announced last week that it would cease trading in Sydney and Brisbane after administrators failed to find a buyer.
A former staff member claims fallen education giant Careers Australia aggressively targeted higher education taxpayer funding while it was already under severe financial stress.
Celebrity-endorsed higher education provider the Australian School of Management (ASM) has had its registration cancelled by the Turnbull Government.
It is the latest blow to 800 business and hospitality students who have been left in limbo following the financial collapse of ASM’s owner Careers Australia last month.
It’s time to start treating education and skills development as an investment in our future, and not as a mechanism to make large profits for private investors.