$130 million ‘a huge number for a school on top of a shop’

Have a look at this site. I see they are currently not taking enrolments, which is not surprising. There is an ongoing court case, about which more in a moment. Meanwhile check the offer: Study Now and Pay Later. You will find similar things at many another private provider.

If you are an AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN or HUMANITARIAN VISA HOLDER, you may be eligible for Australian Government assistance through VET FEE-HELP LOAN PROGRAM.

All Eligible students can enroll and study now, gain the qualification you want and pay back the loan through the tax system by compulsory or voluntary contribution once you are in the workforce and earning the minimum income threshold.

For more information on VET FEE-HELP please visit Study Assist website.

There have been other stories on other institutions.

Updated 27 Jan 2015, 10:17am

Figures suggest one of the country’s largest training colleges had just 19 students graduate from any of its courses in a single year, reigniting concerns about the training sector.

Data on the Government’s MySkills website showed Evocca College enrolled almost 14,000 students in 2012 but just 19 graduated.

The company has disputed the figures but others have suggested the numbers support ongoing concerns about some players in the training industry.

In particular, criticism focused on the recruitment practices of companies which sometimes targeted disadvantaged students.

Such students often struggled to cope with high-level course content and dropped out, leaving them with hefty government training loans and no qualification.

Evocca College was one of the training market leaders with almost 40 campuses around Australia.

In a statement, Evocca said the MySkills figures were wrong and many hundreds of students graduated out of 2,770 enrolments in 2012, with its graduate rates at or above industry average.

It said not all students dropped out and many went on to work or other training.

See also from 2014 Training colleges securing thousands in Government funds by targeting people with disabilities.

The ABC has obtained evidence some colleges are recruiting people with intellectual disabilities to costly diploma-level courses funded with expensive VET-FEE-HELP training loans.

But the training offered is often unsuited as those targeted have a low level of schooling and high care needs which means they are unlikely to ever finish the course.

When students fail some colleges even try to sell them another course…

The phenomenon of what are often called “dodgy colleges” has been fuelled by changes dating back to the Howard government. I find the whole saga rather mind-bending, so I refer you to Wikipedia. You may also see how the government is attempting to address abuses by reform. If you can understand it, that is. See also the Study Assist website.

The latest case may or may not involve crooked practice – the court is still looking at that – but it does underline the craziness that has made these situations arise.

A federal court judge has criticised the Commonwealth’s funding of private vocational education for allowing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to flow out of public coffers with minimal oversight.

“It is hard to avoid, whoever put this scheme together did not think it through very much,” Justice Nye Perram​ said in Sydney on Thursday.

Justice Perram is presiding over action taken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to recoup $47 million of dollars of public VET FEE-HELP funding from Unique International College.

The ACCC alleges the college acted unconscionably in recruiting illiterate, disabled students from Aboriginal missions and remote areas by putting them in up to $25,000 debt through the inducement of a free laptop.

The outcome of the hearing could set an important precedent for the regulator. Unique is the first of several colleges being pursued by the ACCC to be taken to court as the regulator looks to reclaim more than $300 million in public funding.

On Thursday, the last day of the hearing, Justice Perram cited “architectural flaws” in the VET FEE-HELP system but added the $130 million earned by Unique between 2013 and 2015 was an “enormous number”.

Ah, the joys of privatisation!

Finally, you know you are old when you can say “I knew that judge when he was 17.” But I can! He achieved some coverage last year when he ruled on the Dallas Buyers Club piracy case. After misspelling his name, that story does quote part of his judgement:

That factual debate was whether any BitTorrent infringers would have sought to negotiate a worldwide non-exclusive distribution agreement with DBC to authorise their uploading activities or whether infringers would have pursued other courses of action, for example, whether instead they would have rented the Film and paid $4.99 for the pleasure. On this factual question, I concluded that DBC’s contention was wholly unrealistic; indeed, I went so far as to describe it as ‘surreal’.

Cartoon from Stop the rorts: $30 million crackdown looms for vocational sector’s dodgy training providers (Victoria, September 2015).

Supplementary: you may care to read this US post: 4 ways privatization is ruining our education system.