There are many lessons to be learned from this week’s (20 December 2016) release of the Australian National Audit Office report Administration of the VET FEE-HELP Scheme, but here’s the biggest takeaway:
A free-for-all Australian VET market is wrong. From the Report (paragraph 27):
“Course tuition fees increased from an average of $4,060 to $13,911 between 2009 and 2015, and the cost of the same course sometimes varies significantly between providers. For example, as at April 2016, the fees for the: Diploma in Graphic Design (course code CUV50311) were $5,492 with one provider and $59,860 with another; and Diploma of Aviation (instrument flight operations, course code AVI50408) ranged from $32,330 to $96,000.”
Got that? This was an average tuition fee increase of 342% over a six year period. In other words, consumers did not have enough information or power or capability to determine or negotiate the proper pricing mechanism. Many simply assumed that because the loans were from the Australian Government that it must have been okay.
The table below (also from the Report) shows what the Government had assumed the loans would be (the dotted line) and what they actually were (solid blue). The message here: the system didn’t work.
It’s time for a new VET system.