Is a $15,000 Diploma better than a $5,000 one?
June 12, 2015 7 Comments
Whether a Diploma of Counselling for example costs you $5,000 (and sometimes even less) or $15,000 the qualification you get at the end is the same. They are both assessed against the same criteria with the same evidence requirements and delivered by a providers that all operate under the same standards and the same legislation. They are identical.
Let me tell you a little story, in 2012, when I was the Chief Learning Officer at a very large NFP which was also a RTO, who not only did internal training, but also a fairly high volume of training for external clients as well, we increased our scope to include some new Diploma and Advanced Diploma level courses at the same time as applying for funding under the then National Workforce Development fund. There was a huge amount of discussion at the time about pricing, what was fair and reasonable, where the market was, what level of funding the government would accept and a range of other issues. So in the long run we settled on $5,000 for our Diploma level Qualifications and between $8-10,000 for our advanced diplomas, which was pretty much the standard in the sector at the time. That was 3 years ago.
We have seen a 300% rise in the costs of Diploma’s in 3 years
I mean really, even house prices don’t go up that quickly in an inner Sydney suburb. The real rub here is that nothing else apart from the cost has changed, nothing at all.
So back to my initial question. I get really quite upset when people say that a $15,000 Diploma is better than a $5,000 one. The Diploma’s and advanced diploma’s at the provider I now run, range from $3,500 to $9,000. We are of course part of a larger community services organisation, we own our own facilities and have quite a lean flat structure and the reason we try to keep our prices lower is because we believe in community inclusion and that everyone deserves a chance to be able to do the things in life that want and need to help them grow and prosper and that includes learning. We as a NFP make a modest surplus because after all we need to be sustainable (it’s not for profit not for a loss after all), have state of the art equipment in all of training facility, and in terms of our online services, pay our staff well and have outstanding completion and employment outcomes for our students, both are over 90% . The only difference between a Diploma with us and Diploma with someone else is the profit margin.
Well that is not entirely true, I would stake our training and outcomes against all comers. Our training is done within an organisation that delivers, mental health and disability support, counselling, health and fitness and a range of other services. Students are embedded in culture of community services from the time they walk in the door, and this is the case with almost all of the NFP providers out there. Now I am sure that there are some shonky providers at the lower price end of the market, just as I am sure there are some high quality providers at the high profit end of the market, but judging the value and worth of a qualification in the price you paid for it (even if that price is a loan you are never likely to repay) is an exceedingly stupid way to decided on where you are going to get a quality education.
Anyway that is just my opinion.