The Federal Government says it’s shutting down the current VET FEE-HELP scheme at the end of the year, after newly-released data shows it cost taxpayers a whopping $2.9 billion in 2015.
It will be replaced, in January 2017, by the new VET Student Loans program.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the cost blow-out was caused by “rorting and shonky behaviour from some [VET] providers.”
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He said they “continue to take advantage of students and taxpayers and tarnish the reputation of the vocational education and training sector.”
Newly-released data showed the number of enrolments had increased from just 5,300 in 2009 to around 321,000 in 2015 – highlighting the runaway growth in the VET FEE-HELP scheme.
“Up to one in five students were doing VET FEE-HELP courses not to improve their job prospects, but to pursue lifestyle interests,” Minister Birmingham said.
“While I understand some people may want to broaden their experiences, we need to ensure precious taxpayer money is used to support students doing courses with strong employment outcomes – which increases the prospects of people paying back their government loan.
The new program will include course restrictions for providers, loan caps and student engagement requirements.
“VET Student Loans will only support legitimate students to undertake worthwhile and value-for-money courses at quality training providers,” the Minister said.