Protecting the interests of vulnerable people from unethical RTOs

This excerpt from the latest Commonwealth HELP Newsletter in regard to marketing responsibilities of approved providers, advising that unethical marketing is reportable to ASQA is welcomed by the
TAFE Commuity Alliance

Program Assurance

Providers would be aware that the department monitors the take up of VET FEE-HELP to ensure that the scheme continues to fulfil its intent: i.e. provides access to loans for students who would repay these loans once they enter the labour market and earn over $51,309 per year. As a result, the Department considers data from a number of sources to ensure that loans are made available to people in accordance with the spirit and intent of the scheme. As well, the department receives feedback from students and others relating to misleading and unethical marketing tactics that may have been used by some providers and /or their agents.
While most providers appear to be operating in accordance with the spirit and intent of VET FEE-HELP, it appears that some providers have:
· targeted vulnerable people, including those people who do not have the aptitude, attitude or ability to complete a course;
· targeted people who have retired and left the labour market;
· offered inducements to prospective students to study at their institution, in return for a monetary or other reward;
· made misleading claims about the students’ ability to be employed and earn an income;
· provided misleading information to prospective students about the VET FEE-HELP scheme; and
· included ineligible content, including ‘nesting’ of non-eligible content into Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses.
All providers are reminded that unethical and misleading marketing of courses that comes to the attention of the department may be investigated as part of compliance activities and may be reported to ASQA for further investigation