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Higher Education Support Amendment Bill 2010

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2008-2009

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT AMENDMENT Bill 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education the Honourable Julia Gillard MP)

 

 



HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT AMENDMENT BILL 2009

 

 

OUTLINE

 

This Bill makes minor amendments to provide for administrative efficiencies in the operation of the FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP Assistance Schemes under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 .

 

FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP assistance is available to full fee-paying students studying in higher level education or training, and provides a loan for all or part of a student’s tuition costs. This assistance is aimed at encouraging students to take up higher level skill qualifications by reducing the financial barriers associated with study.

 

This Bill makes amendments to streamline the application and assessment process for higher education and training organisations applying for approval to offer FEE-HELP and VET FEE-HELP assistance to students. The amendments will provide for administrative efficiencies resulting in faster approvals of higher education and VET providers, therefore giving students access to financial assistance sooner. 

 

Specifically, the Bill amends the tuition assurance provisions in the Act, to remove the administrative requirement for higher education and training organisations to have tuition assurance arrangements in place at the date of their application for approval to offer FEE-HELP or VET FEE-HELP assistance to students. In addition, the bill provides for amendments to allow recommendations from approved national or state-based agencies to be used as part of the assessment and approval of training organisations to deliver VET FEE-HELP assistance. This will help to eliminate duplication between Commonwealth and State and Territory agencies, and reduce the cost and time taken to assess a training organisation’s application.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

There is no financial impact associated with this bill.



HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPORT AMENDMENT BILL 2009

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

Provides for the Act to be cited as the Higher Education Support Amendment Act 2009.

 

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

Provides that the Act commences on the day on which it receives Royal Assent.

 

 

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

 

Provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule and that any other item in a Schedule has effect according to its terms.

 

 

 



Schedule 1— Amendments

 

Higher Education Support Act 2003

 

Item 1 - Paragraph 16-25(c)

 

Omits “fulfilled the *tuition assurance requirements on the date of making an application under section 16-40” and substitutes “fulfils the *tuition assurance requirements.”

 

The current requirement contained in paragraph 16-25(c) provides that the Minister may approve a body corporate as a higher education provider if the body either fulfilled the tuition assurance requirement on the date of making an application under section 16-40 or is exempted from having to satisfy this requirement. In its current form, the legislation allows a body corporate to satisfy the requirement in paragraph 16-25(c) where the body corporate satisfies the tuition assurance requirements at the time of their application but not at the time the Minister makes a decision. This amendment will ensure that the body corporate has until the time immediately prior to the time the Minister makes a decision, to fulfil the tuition assurance requirements.

 

 

Item 2 - Paragraph 6(d) of Schedule 1A

 

Omits “fulfilled the *tuition assurance requirements on the date of making an application under section clause 9” and substitutes “fulfils the *tuition assurance requirements.”

 

Paragraph 6(d) provides that a Minister may approve a body corporate as a VET provider where the body corporate either fulfilled the VET tuition assurance requirements on the date of making an application under clause 9 or is exempted from those requirements under clause 8. In its current form, the legislation allows a body corporate to satisfy paragraph 6(d) where the body corporate meets the VET tuition assurance requirements at the time of application but not at the time the Minister makes the decision. This amendment will ensure that the body corporate has until the time immediately prior to the time the Minister makes a decision, to fulfil the tuition assurance requirements.

 

 

Item 3 - Subsection 11(2) of Schedule 1A

 

Repeals and substitutes subclause 2 and inserts subclause (2A) into Schedule 1A.

 

Before the Minister can approve a body corporate as a VET provider, the Minister must be satisfied, in accordance with paragraph 6(f), that the body is willing and able to meet the VET quality and accountability requirements.

 

New subsection 11(2) provides, for the purposes of paragraph 6(f), two circumstances in which the Minister may be satisfied that a body corporate is willing and able to meet the VET quality and accountability requirements.

 

Firstly, this amendment maintains the provision currently in the legislation which provides the Minister may be satisfied that a body corporate is willing and able to meet the VET quality and accountability requirements where the body gives the Minister such written undertakings as the Minister requires.

 

Secondly, the Minister may be satisfied that a body corporate is willing and able to meet:

·          the VET quality and accountability requirements; or

·          one or more of the requirements referred to in paragraphs 13(1)(a) to (f) of Schedule 1A;

if a body approved under the VET Provider Guidelines so recommends in accordance with the VET Provider Guidelines.

 

This amendment will allow the Minister to accept recommendations from a body approved under the VET Provider Guidelines in relation to the VET quality and accountability requirements.

 

New subclause 11(2A) provides that subclause 11(2) does not limit the circumstances in which the Minister may be satisfied, for the purposes of paragraph 6(f) that a body corporate is willing and able to meet the VET quality and accountability requirements.