A Melbourne-based private college today asked the government to infuse short-term funds to financially support the education industry to help absorb displaced students in case of any further big college collapse.
According to The Australian newspaper report, the demand by Carrick Institute follows private colleges facing additional burden to accommodate 2,500 displaced students from the collapse of a city-based Meridian college, some of whom will be owed at least part of their tuition for free.
Carrick founder Catherine Carrick was quoted as saying that while reputed colleges were able to absorb students from the last Meridian college closure, the industry may find hard to support in case another such closure happens.
“As we try and clean up the industry, then good quality colleges need to be given support to ensure we can continue to give quality services to our full-fee-paying students,” she said.
“Government’s ESOS fund, which is the final line of protection for displaced students, is increasing its levy on the industry to raise five million dollars to boost its depleted coffers,” the report said adding the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) is expected to place students with its member colleges without recourse to the ESOS fund, and as a result its members pay a reduced ESOS levy.
Ms. Carrick said that with the industry facing a “temporary crisis” as poor-quality colleges were being weeded out, the government should create a pool of funds, possibly through ESOS fund, to pull through this tough time.
ACPET is in the process of negotiating to place Meridian students.
It has so far contracted two colleges, Holmes and Academia International, to provide immediate assessment and certification for about 550 Meridian students who were just two weeks away from completing their courses when the college collapsed.
These students are now expected to receive their certification by mid-December.
New law proposal
The Victorian government has meanwhile proposed new law to make it easier to “name and shame” dodgy colleges. Skills Minister Jacinta Allan said the new laws meant that, in some instances, colleges would have up to seven days to explain themselves, rather than 28, before the regulator could act to suspend or cancel their licence.