VET FEE-HELP. Information Sessions. April 2011 HOW VET FEE-HELP WORKS. To be covered. How VET FEE-HELP works

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1 VET FEE-HELP Information Sessions April 2011 To be covered What is VET FEE-HELP and how does it work? Key concepts of VET FEE-HELP Who is eligible to offer VET FEE-HELP? What does an applicant need to demonstrate? Legislative requirements post approval VET FEE-HELP resources HOW VET FEE-HELP WORKS What is VET FEE-HELP? An income contingent loan scheme for the VET sector that is an extension of FEE-HELP, part of the Higher Education Loan Program. Assists eligible students to pay for all or part of their tuition fees at approved VET providers when studying one or more of the following VET accredited courses of study: diploma*; advanced diploma*; graduate certificate; graduate diploma * With an approved credit transfer arrangement to a Bachelor Degree with a Higher Education Provider (HEP) in non reform State/Territory. How VET FEE-HELP works Commonwealth pays tuition fees to the VET provider (on a monthly basis) Student incurs liability after a census date set by the VET provider Students repay their loan through the tax system when income is above the minimum income threshold (currently $44,911) VET FEE-HELP Resources (1) Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA) Schedule 1A Ministerial Determinations under the Act VET Provider Guidelines VET Administration Guidelines VET FEE-HELP Guidelines VET Provider Handbook VET FEE-HELP Financial Viability Documents VET FEE-HELP Resources (2) Website: general enquiries: technical enquiries: VET FEE-HELP Information booklet (2011) 1

2 What is an approved VET provider(2) WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO BECOME A VET PROVIDER? An approved VET provider is a body corporate that has been approved by the Minister to offer VET FEE-HELP assistance to its students. Only approved VET providers can offer VET FEE-HELP to eligible students. What are the criteria for approval? (2.4) To be approved by the Department as an approved VET provider, an RTO must first meet and continue to meet ALL of the following requirements of the Act: Must be a Body Corporate whose principal purpose is education; Be listed on the National Training Information Service (NTIS) Be financially viable and likely to remain financially viable; Offer VET diploma and advanced diploma courses with credit transfer arrangements and/or VET graduate certificate and graduate diploma courses (for non-reform States/Territories ONLY); Meet VET tuition assurance requirements Other quality and accountability requirements Body Corporate whose principal purpose is education Body Corporate An artificial legal entity having a seperate legal personality RTOs are advised to seek legal advice regarding their Body Corporate status The principal purpose does not have to be the sole purpose of the body applying, the definition of Principal o is first or highest in rank, importance, value etc. Registered on NTIS This identifies and confirms your status as a Registered Training Organisation; and Lists all the courses that your organisation is registered to offer in accordance with your Scope of Registration. Be financially viable and likely to remain financially viable (1) An RTO must provide ALL of the following: Four years worth of financial statements (where applicable), the most recent of which must be independently audited. VET FEE-HELP Financial Ratio Analysis Excel Workbook; and All other financial information required by the Minister 2

3 Be financially viable and likely to remain financially viable (2) The types of things DEEWR will take into account would include: Organisational type, history and related entities Student profile (domestic and international) Financial ratios Business plans including cashflow projections Be financially viable and likely to remain financially viable (3) If the financial risk associated with an applicant is assessed as low to negligible they will usually be considered to meet the requirements at clause 14 of HESA If assessed as presenting a higher level of risk, applicants will be required to provide risk mitigation strategies such as deeds of guarantee, a capital injection or bank overdraft facility VET CREDIT TRANSFER REQUIREMENTS (4) Applies to diplomas and advanced diplomas only (in non reform State/Territory) Approved CTA Bachelor degree HEP Approval provided by DEEWR (Group Manager) If RTO only offers diplomas &/or advanced diplomas: Must have an approved CTA for at least one course to be approved as a VET provider VET Tuition Assurance Requirements (TAR) (2.5) Must be met by ALL VET providers for all eligible courses There are two components to the TAR VET course assurance requirements for successfully completed units of study VET tuition fee repayment requirements Complying with TAR (2.5) Providers can comply with TAR by: Membership of an approved VET tuition assurance scheme (VTAS) (2.5.2) Covers both TAR components Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) or TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) OR Alternative arrangements which meet: VET course assurance requirements (2.5.6) Complying with TAR (2.5) VET tuition fee repayment requirements (2.5.20) Legally-binding guarantee by a separate legal entity ( VET Repayment Guarantor ) which has the financial and administrative resources to fulfil such a guarantee VET course assurance requirements (2.5.6) 3

4 Ceasing to provide a Course (2.5.3) TAR is activated when provider ceases to provide a VET course of study: Course does not start either as scheduled or at a later date agreed by both students and provider and no suitable alternative course has been arranged Course commenced and ceased (for any reason) before enrolled students have completed course Suspension/revocation of provider (and no determination made to allow assisted students to complete course) VET provider is under external administration No longer registered on NTIS Secretary makes a declaration Statement of VET Tuition Assurance Requirements (2.5.12) Providers must publish a statement which: explains the TAR how these requirements have been met for each course inform students on enrolment about the statement(s) and where it can be obtained The statement must explain: provider has met the TAR the nature of the TAR student has a choice of options for TAR and what each option means An example can be found on the VET FEE-HELP website. Administrative procedures and capacity to meet reporting requirements Infrastructure/processes etc are in place to be able to: Allocate CHESSNs Issue CANs Provide payment estimate information Reporting of student data COURSES AND STUDENTS VET FEE-HELP Liability (5.2) VET FEE-HELP eligibility and liability occurs on a unit of study basis, not on a course basis Students DO NOT incur a VET FEE-HELP liability until after the census date VET unit of study (1.8) Units (subject, modules, structured training) undertaken as part of a VET course of study (diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate and graduate diploma) Provider sets and charges a VET tuition fee for each unit of study. Provider determines number of units per course A course must consist of at least one unit of study No upper limit to number of units per course 4

5 Unit of Competency (1.9) Consists of a competency or a number of small elements of competency Has NO relevance for VET FEE-HELP assistance Provider can determine what: Competencies = unit of study or Unit of study = any part or number of competencies Administrative and risk considerations ie the more units of study/census dates the greater the administartive requirements Census dates (1.12) Set by provider for each unit of study 20% rule Set no earlier than 20% of the way through a unit of study (including any examination periods, breaks etc) Only one census date per unit Date after which: Student incurs a VET FEE-HELP debt Commonwealth is liable to pay eligible student s tuition fees for that unit All eligible students who withdraw on or before the census date receive a full refund of their tuition fees from their VET provider Diploma* VET Course of Study (1.6) Advanced diploma* Vocational Graduate certificate Vocational Graduate diploma * with an approved credit transfer arrangement (CTA) in non reform State/Territory. VET CREDIT TRANSFER REQUIREMENTS (4) Applies to diplomas and advanced diplomas only - in non reform State/Territory Approved CTA Bachelor degree (ONLY Bachelor Degree) HEP (not just Universities) Approval provided by DEEWR If RTO only offers diplomas &/or advanced diplomas: Must have an approved CTA for at least one course to be approved as a VET provider CREDIT LEVELS (4.3) Following credit levels are applicable: 50% credit for advanced diploma 3 year Bachelor degree (18 months) 37.5% credit for advanced diploma 4 year Bachelor degree (18 months) 33% credit for diploma 3 year Bachelor degree (12 months) 25% credit for diploma 4 year Bachelor degree (12 months) ASSESSMENT AGAINST CREDIT LEVELS (4.4) Approved if credit levels (and meet other requirements) If < credit levels Assessed against sector best practice arrangements for those courses/qualifications 5

6 Specialist course requirements Specialist courses (4.4.2) Detail reasons why Cannot be considered on a specialist course it the credit level benchmark has already been established Minimum level of six months credit (4.4.1) VET CTA (4.5) For each diploma/advanced diploma - in non reform State/Territory Written document (template available on VFH website) Endorsed by RTO/VET provider and HEP Lists the HEP and Bachelor degree Guaranteed amount of credit Expiry date (if any) What is an eligible student? (5.7) Full fee-paying (in non reform State/Territory) Provider does not receive any government subsidies for the course Meet citizenship or residency requirements Australian citizen or Permanent humanitarian visa holder who is resident in Australia for duration of unit FEE-HELP balance > 0 Meet Tax File Number (TFN) requirements Enrolled in eligible course/unit by the end of the census date Completed, signed and given to an appropriate officer a Request for VET FEE-HELP assistance form by the end of the census date Determining Student Eligibility (5.6) Responsibility of provider Provider should collect sufficient information If student turns out not to be eligible, then provider repays VET FEE-HELP debt back to the Commonwealth Student Payments VET Tuition Fees (3.5.1) Providers must determine a tuition fee(s) for each unit of study. Can have more than one tuition fee per unit as appropriate, except CANNOT have a different tuition fee based on: Manner of payment (eg. - up-front versus VET FEE-HELP assistance) Timing of payment (eg - prepaying, paying for course compared to units) Student s capacity to undertake the course i.e F/T or P/T Fee for course CANNOT > sum of the units tuition fees 6

7 VET Tuition Fees Only tuition fees payable through VET FEE-HELP Should cover all essential requirements of the course May charge other incidental fees, in certain circumstances. The policy intent is: Students generally must be able to complete the requirements of their course without the imposition of other fees VET Tuition Fees (3.5.3) VET tuition fees do not include Student unions or guilds Amenities or services not of an academic nature Residential accommodation Special admissions tests Fees that are incidental to study Incidental Fees (3.5.3) A fee is incidental if it is for: A good or service not essential to the course An alternative form of access to an essential good or service Essential good or service that student could acquire from another supplier and is for: food, transport and accommodation for a field trip that is part of a course an item that becomes the physical property of the student and not consumed during course (e.g lab coat) Fine or penalty imposed principally is a disincentive Computer access: Example If essential for course then should be included in the tuition fee (students not charged any additional fee) If not an essential requirement for course, can be charged for If access during normal course time is free, may charge for access in different circumstances (eg. weekends) Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) (3.5.3) Cannot charge an incidental fee for RPL Can provide unit(s) for RPL Provider could then set a tuition fee for this unit(s) Students could seek VET FEE-HELP assistance for this unit(s) (as it is a tuition fee) 2011 FEE-HELP Limit (5.10) $86,422 (VET students) $108,029 for students in courses leading to registration as a medical practitioner, dentist or veterinarian Indexed annually 7

8 FEE-HELP Balance (5.10) Is the amount of the FEE-HELP limit a student hasn t used Includes both VET FEE-HELP assistance AND FEE-HELP assistance Repayments do not reset the maximum that can be borrowed by a student Provider s responsibility to ensure student has sufficient FEE-HELP balance VET FEE-HELP Loan Fee (5.18) 20% loan fee applies to VET FEE-HELP debts, except in the case of subsidised students in a Reform State/Territory The loan fee is included in the VET FEE- HELP debt 20% loan fee not included in a person s FEE-HELP balance Special Circumstances (12.2.3) After the census date: Students may apply to have their FEE-HELP balance recredited and their debt removed in special circumstances if: Not successfully completed unit Circumstances beyond student s control Do not make full impact until on or after census date Impractical to complete unit requirements If provider satisfied then re-credit FEE-HELP balance Provider may, under their procedures, refund any upfront payments MORNING TEA Publishing Requirements Publishing Requirements (6) A number of arrangements and procedures must be published and made publicly available Methods may include As part of printed handbooks On the provider s website Any other method determined by the provider which will bring the information to the attention of students and prospective students 8

9 Publishing Requirements What must be published and made publicly available: Procedures for making decisions about selection and treatment of students Procedures relating to equal benefits and opportunities Student grievance procedures (academic and non-academic) Student review procedures Statement of VET tuition assurance Personal information procedures Approved credit transfer arrangements Schedule of VET tuition fees Schedule of VET tuition fees (6.1) A provider MUST publish on the their own website a Schedule of VET tuition fees which will include: VET tuition fees for each unit Census dates For each unit of study it provides or proposes to provide by: 1 April for units with a census date in the same year between 1 July and 31 December and 1 October for units with a census date in the following year between 1 January and 30 June (providers can chose to submit for the whole year in Oct submission) An example of a Schedule of VET tuition fees can be found on the VET FEE-HELP website Access to VET Unit of Study Information Provider must ensure that students and persons seeking to enrol have easy access to VET Unit of Study information on request and at no charge Providing the Schedule to the Minister (6.5) MUST give a schedule of VET tuition fees to DEEWR (as the Minister s delegate) Provided in the following ways: Posting on the provider s public website; and Uploading the schedule or a URL link to the schedule on the provider s website via the VET FEE-HELP IT System (VITS) If a provider submits a link(s) to its website, it MUST maintain a printable copy of the published tuition fees for historical purposes Variations can be made to a VET providers published Schedule of VET tuition fees (further information available on VFH website) Restricted Access Arrangements (1.14) An agreement between a provider and an employer or industry body for provision of: Course(s) or Places in course(s) No requirement to make publicly available unit of study information Protects commercial-in-confidence information Still required to provide information to the Minister (via VITS) Within 5 business days after commencement of units DATA REPORTING 9

10 Provider System Requirements (7.2) Minimum requirements (7.2.1) Pentium personal computer (minimum 1Gb RAM) Windows XP operating system with Service Pack 2 Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6.00 or later 500mb hard disk space Unique account capable of receiving external s A printer For more information contact Data Reporting Elements (7.3.2) Data elements, File structure and scope documents can be downloaded at Data Reporting Requirements (7) Data files to be loaded in HEPCAT: 1. Student Load Liability unit of study, EFTSL, tuition fees 2. Student Enrolment student demographics 3. Commonwealth Assisted Students student details for ATO (TFN, etc) for students accessing VET FEE-HELP loans 4. Revisions revisions of any of the above files 5. VET Course Completions only to be submitted for students who have completed a qualification 6. VET Unit of Study Completions Unit of Study information (progress) 7. Electronic Commonwealth Assistance provided to ATO for students who complete an electronic Request for VET FEE-HELP Assistance Form Data Reporting Dates (7.3.2) Providers need to submit student data files five times per year 31 May (for units with census dates occurring in Jan-Mar) 31 August (for units with census dates occurring in April-June) 31 October for units with census dates occurring in July-August 31 March (for units with census dates occurring in Sept-Dec of previous year) 30 April (regarding unit and course completions in Jan-Dec of previous year) EFTSL (1.13.1) Equivalent full-time student load Work out annual standard full-time study load (ie 1.0 = 12 months/1 year) Calculate the unit s proportion of the annual standard full-time study load Providers must determine EFTSL values for each unit as part of the data reporting requirements Other Administration Requirements Further information provided at approved VET provider training 10

11 CHESSN (10.6) Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number Unique student identifier for Commonwealth assistance Student must be allocated a CHESSN if seeking VET FEE-HELP assistance Allocated by DEEWR Additional information provided at approved VET provider training Commonwealth Assistance Notice (5.20) CANs issued by provider to all students who request VET FEE-HELP assistance after each census date Within 28 days of earliest census date indicated in the CAN Must contain certain information (see VET Provider Handbook for more detailed information) Additional information provided at approved VET provider training VET Provider Payments (8) Advance payments may be made by the Secretary (or delegate) Based on estimate of VET FEE-HELP assistance for the calendar year Paid monthly The level of payment may be varied at any time Providers must notify DEEWR if it becomes evident that the level of payment is significantly incorrect Compliance with HESA VET FEE-HELP Primary Sources Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA) Schedule 1 A VET Provider Guidelines VET Administration Guidelines VET FEE-HELP Guidelines Ministerial determinations Draft VET Provider Handbook VET FEE-HELP Information booklet What/when will DEEWR monitor? (3.4) Providers must continue to meet all requirements in HESA, including: Publishing requirements (ongoing) Schedule of VET Tuition Fees Census date Notification of events (ongoing) Financial viability requirements (as required) Data reporting (quarterly) Fairness requirements (ongoing) Tuition Assurance Student grievances and review requirements Credit transfer arrangements with HEPs (ongoing) NTIS registration (ongoing) Additional information provided at approved VET provider training 11

12 Monitoring processes Education; Self Assessment Checklists; VET provider assistance; Targeted monitoring; Feedback; and Desktop monitoring. VET FEE-HELP IT SYSTEMS VITS (10) A web based system for VET FEE-HELP that encompasses Application process CHESSN allocation VET Credit Transfer Arrangements Submission of estimates Schedule of VET Tuition Fees HEIMS (10) The data management system developed for Higher Education and Vocational Education and Training data. Available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week One log-on per applicant Only contact information can be changed after application is submitted HEPCAT (10) The tool that prepares and validates data submissions and then submits that data to HEIMS Other VET Quality and Accountability Requirements 12

13 Applying to become a VET provider Policies and Procedures MUST meet the requirements of the Act and the VET Provider Guidelines Applicants may need to re-write their policies and procedures to meet these requirements DEEWR currently developing an application pack which will include optional templates VET Fairness Requirements (3.3) A provider must: treat fairly all of its students and all persons seeking to enrol with the provider have procedures covering fair treatment (including selection procedures) A provider must have open, fair and transparent procedures that are based on merit for making decisions about students undertaking, and person applying for, courses (3.3.2) based on provider s reasonable view can take into account students enrolled under a restricted access arrangement Student Grievance Procedures (3.3.3) Provider must have student grievance procedures for dealing with complaints about: academic matters non-academic matters Student Grievance Procedures (2) (3.3.3) Arrangements for handling complaints must: be easily accessible be provided at no cost and which encourage timely resolution of complaints include provision for independent internal investigation for unresolved complaints include provision for external review of any internal investigation a mechanism for considering any recommendations Student Grievance Procedures (3) (3.3.3) be complete, unambiguous and signed off by provider s governing body do not discriminate or victimise be communicated to staff and staff trained in their application specify reasonable timelines for responses allow third party representation if requested, provide reasons and a full explanation in writing of decision and actions taken; and keep confidential accurate records of all grievances for at least 5 years Student Review Procedures (3.3.4) A provider must have student review procedures for reviewing decisions not to recredit/remit their VET FEE-HELP balance/vet FEE-HELP debt (reviewable VET decisions) must allow student to submit original request 13

14 Student Review Procedures (3.3.4) Minimum requirements are: (13.1.1) inform students how to submit a valid request provide details of the letters (including required content) acknowledge receipt of a request, in writing, and if not informed of a decision within 45 days the reviewer taken to have confirmed the original decision advise of right to appeal to Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) if not satisfied with outcome provide contact details, address of nearest AAT registry and appropriate costs of lodging an appeal Review Officers (3.3.5) Provider must appoint a Review Officer(s) to undertake review of decisions (reviewable VET decisions) Review Officer must not be same officer who made original decision must be in a senior position to the original decision-maker Personal Information Procedures (3.3.6) Provider must: comply with Commonwealth Information Privacy Principles of the Privacy Act 1988 have personal information procedures which allows students to apply for and secure information that a provider holds about them Refund Policy (3.5.3) Provider s refund policies must comply with: VET fairness requirements VET fee requirements VET tuition fee liability occurs at end of census date may charge a fine or penalty, but only as a disincentive and only if set an earlier administrative/withdrawal date Applying to become a VET provider HOW TO APPLY Applicants MUST meet all the requirements of Schedule 1A of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA), relevant Ministerial Determinations and the VET Provider Guidelines Once applicants are ready to apply they must lodge their applications through VITS 14

15 VITS Only one user per VET provider account future releases of VITS will expand user profiles Applications should be submitted as soon as all the information has been provided. The Department reserves the right to remove un-submitted applications where no activity has occurred over the last 60 days. Where the Department removes an application because no activity has occurred (and you still wish to apply) you must add a new application. If your application is removed, your login account will remain active Information Required for VET Provider Application Senior Officers declaration General and legal status information Certified copy of constitution or memorandum or Articles of Association that provides information that the principal purpose is to provide education. Strategic plan Financial statements, Financial Ratio Analysis Workbook and other financial information required by the Minister Statutory Declaration Procedures fair treatment/equal benefits and opportunities student grievance (academic and non-academic) student review personal information Information Required for VET Provider Application (2) Refund policy Review officers arrangements Publications Tuition Assurance Requirements Statement of VET tuition assurance VET credit transfer arrangements Incidental fees Course tuition fees actual/expected VET FEE-HELP contacts VET FEE-HELP Contact Details Website: Telephone: Thank you QUESTIONS for technical VITS enquiries: 15

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