The Australian Parliament is considering legislation that will see tuition protection extended for up-front fee-paying students and students who access FEE-HELP or HECS-HELP assistance by extending the scope of the Tuition Protection Scheme (TPS) operated by the Australian Government. It follows sustained advocacy by the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA).
Key Issues —
Tuition protection aims to ensure students are protected and supported in the event that their provider defaults, usually in the case of a closure. Prior to 2020, students paying their fees up-front were afforded protection via the Australian Student Tuition Assurance Scheme (ASTAS); however, this scheme came to an end at the end of 2019. To protect students, ITECA has been arguing for the TPS scheme to be extended and provide this protection.
After sustained lobbying by ITECA, the Education Legislation Amendment (Up-front Payments Tuition Protection) Bill 2020 has been presented to the Australian Parliament.
If passed, the Bill will see students with independent higher education providers that pay their fees up-front protected by the TPS scheme. Students that access FEE-HELP or HECS-HELP assistance at independent higher education providers receive the same tuition protection.
The Bill provides for the new tuition protection arrangements to commence on 1 January 2021.
Consistent with previous tuition assurance arrangements, the proposed arrangements do not apply to public universities TAFEs or Government funded providers and students enrolled with them are not included in the scope of TPS. The logic is that those providers are assessed to have a low risk of default as they have government financial backing.
The arrangements will be funded by an annual levy which is calculated after profiling a higher education provider’s size, commercial risk and also reflects the number of students and quantum of fees to be protected under the TPS scheme.
Getting Involved —
ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Higher Education Reference Committee. ITECA Membership – It's a great time to get involved.
Further Information —
If you're an ITECA member and would like more information on this matter, the ITECA team would value the opportunity to talk to you. Simply send an email to email@example.com or telephone 1300 421 017. Stay up to date via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
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