VET FEE HELP accounts for only 6% of all enrollments

So when I commented on the recent release of the Total Vet Activity data from NCVER  I said that one of the issues with the data was the fact that it didn’t capture or have a way of delineating VET FEE Help Data from other data within the set.  While this still remains true if we look at the statements made by NCVER’s Managing Director about the data and in particular his comments about TVA and the VFH data from the Department of Education we can see some interesting information.

Firstly lets just look at the raw 2014 figures;

  • 3.6 million enrolments in VET programs
  • 492,000 enrolments in Diploma of above programs
  • 217,000 VET FEE Help enrolment in Diploma or above programs

So what does this data tell us?

  1. Only 44% of all programs at a Diploma level or above were VFH assisted.
  2. VET FEE Help programs accounted for only 6% of all VET programs in 2014

There is of course some other interesting data that can be found in the Department of Educations statistics on VFH for 2014.  The Data is not the easiest to interpret as some of the spreadsheets take a little bit of looking into to see exactly what they are saying, but if you are interested you can take look for yourself.  For me the interesting things that come out of that data particularly when taken in conjunction with the TVA data are;

  • 95,000 or 43% of all enrolments were done by the 5 largest VFH providers, Evocca, NSW TAFE, Careers Australia, Study Group and AIPE
  • The 10 largest VFH providers account for 55% of all VFH enrolments
  • The other 260 or so providers account for only 45% of all VFH enrolments
  • The 4 largest providers each have enrolments double or more than the number of enrolments for the fifth largest provider

Now while there is a lot of argument around the accuracy of completion rates and how the data is set collected etc, here are a few interesting items.

  • RMIT (not one of the big players) seems to have the highest number of completions at around 2,300 which appears to be about 50% of its enrolments
  • TAFE NSW, 2200 completions or what appears to be about 10% of its VET FEE Help enrolments
  • Careers Australia, 1192 completions or what appears to be 7% of its VET FEE Help enrolments

Now as I said whether or not we can really actually say anything from these enrollment and completion figures remains to be seen, particularly when we see the next lot of completion figures for 2015 and if we see a marked increase in those rates.

So where does all of this leave us in relation to TVA and VFH?  I am not really sure and the problem with the statistics is that you can use them to say a lot of things, but I think the one thing we can safely say is that the actual number of people accessing VFH in relation to the overall numbers of VET students if quite low and as I have said before, if it wasnt for the amounts of money that seem to be floating around I suspect that this whole thing would not have even rated a mention in most of the newspapers and media outlets let alone almost daily coverage.


Anyway that’s just my opinion


About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

4 Responses to VET FEE HELP accounts for only 64 of all enrollments

  1. Hi Paul, I must commend you for great and painstaking analysis well done.

  2. Darren Smith says:

    Congratulations should go to RMIT it seems for managing to have a substantially higher completion rate for VFH enrolments than organisations such a Careers Australia.
    It would be good to know what model they use to keep students engaged through to completion compared to those with rates of 7-10 percent (which is woeful in my opinion and should see providers struck from the market).
    It would also be interesting to see some data re fees payable for programs by the RTO’s – it seems to range from $5000 to $15000 or more in some cases.

    • pauldrasmussen says:

      Darren. I agree RMIT certainly seem to be doing something right in terms of completions. One of the questions which jump out of this for me is what is TAFE NSW doing wrong to have a completion rate of 10%.

      I would be interesting to compare fees between providers as well

      Thanks for your comments.


  3. Janice Havington says:

    A very interesting read.

    I would add the following for consideration:

    – In AVETMISS, we only report students who commence at least one unit
    – In VFH you report students that you intend to claim for

    These two sets of data, in theory should match, in practice they may not.

    VFH reporting is based on Higher Education reporting and as such, it can be compared to a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.

    Under VFH, the student must ‘formally’ withdraw. There is no explicit requirement that a student must commence. There is no requirement for commencement evidence before claiming the loan.

    What if a student never commences? What if they abandon their course half-way through? No formal withdrawal. technically it’s okay to claim. BUT of course, this is not in line with the ‘spirit’ or the ‘intent’ of the guidelines.

    Ethical providers would not consider claiming VFH loans under these circumstances ethical.

    In addition, VFH is technically fee for service. Until total vet activity reporting was introduced, VFH students will mostly have been reported. And the reporting of FFS students was actively discouraged in some states.

    At least three states allow VFH for the non-funded portion of subsidised courses.

    Only Victoria requires you to report whether a student is receiving VFH assistance or not and whether that student is subsidised or not

    From a book keeping perspective, it’s a bit of a mess.

    In reality, I’m not sure that we can truly determine the true % of VFH students who are receiving VFH assistance.

    You have also not named what I understand to be the biggest VFH provider and the one that is currently getting significant press.

    And btw – $15,000 seems to be on the cheaper end of the market for some VFH providers. Some courses are being sold for as high as $34,000!

    I would love to see a capping or maximum amount per course introduced into VFH.

    And I would like to see an earlier proposal that VFH loans be claimed through AVETMISS reporting be introduced. I truly believe that the Unit of Study construct be removed.

    It would make more sense for a portion of loan be paid upon commencement of a unit and the remainder upon completion (not unlike the WA model). It should be a requirement that evidence of participation requirements be maintained in a similar fashion to Victoria where two sets of participation in training must be kept.

    And last of all, they really need to change the gov’t VFH from to a student friendly form.

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