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Govt must ensure HECS for vocational training not undermined by fee hikes

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 2 Feb 2012

The Minister for Tertiary Education and Skills Chris Evans must learn from the Victorian experience and actively monitor and rein in private vocational course providers that take advantage of new HECS-style loan arrangements to hike up fees, said Greens Senator and higher education spokesperson Lee Rhiannon.

“Whilst introducing HECS-style loans and government subsidised places will remove a barrier to entry for some students, the best way for the Gillard government to skill up the workforce is to reinvest in the TAFE system”, said Senator Rhiannon.

“The Gillard government needs to heed the lessons from Victoria, which introduced a system of subsidised vocational courses in 2008.

“Since 2008, diploma fees in Victoria have trebled and now dwarf the costs of a diploma in any other state.

“Research from the Victorian TAFE Association show that the public provider share of government-funded enrolments has plummeted from 75% in 2008 to 52% in 2011.

“The Greens will push Minister for Tertiary Education and Skills Chris Evans to monitor fees and rein in private colleges that seek to take advantage of HECS-style loans to hike up their fees.

“The door to skills and education should not be shut because people cannot afford up-front fees but the essential ingredient for increasing workforce skills and participation is a strong and well-resourced TAFE system,” said Senator Rhiannon.

Contact: Lee Rhiannon 0487 350 880

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