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What does the Budget 2014 mean for online students?

by Yvette Maurice

How will this most recent Budget affect current and prospective students? Open Colleges has put together a summary for everyone who is currently studying, or thinking of studying, after the Australian Government’s Budget 2014/15 announcements.

For many Australians, particularly working adults, the vocational system (including TAFEs and private colleges) is now more practical, relevant and cost effective than the university system.

This Budget will impact higher education with universities and private colleges now able to set their own fees. Previously university fees have been capped by the government, this will now change. There has been speculation in the media that cost for some Bachelor degrees may double or even triple, with some qualifications costing up to $120 000.

‘‘(University) fees will go up and they will go up quite significantly,” says Professor Chapman, director of policy impact at the Australian National University.

This could be good news for students that are considering studying at educational facilities other than universities, such as TAFEs or private colleges. The government intends to open up the education sector to further competition, which should mean better quality education for all as colleges and universities contend for students by improving their courses and competing on pricing.

Students at Open Colleges already enjoy payment plans and flexible pay arrangements. This is a great alternative to the previous HECS-HELP system for university students.

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“Open Colleges’ aim is to ensure that education is open to everyone. We are passionate about providing our students with terrific learning outcomes and an alternative in getting a quality education without going into debt that they won’t be able to pay back for, in many cases, years,” says Mark Rohald, Joint Chief Executive Officer of Open Colleges.

“We believe that opening up the education sector will only benefit learners – particularly those who are concerned about rising university fees.”

Benefit for prospective Open Colleges students:

  • If you are planning on studying to gain skills for your current job your tuition fees may be tax deductible. You may be entitled to a tax refund in your 2013/2014 income tax return if you pay before the end of the financial year: June, 30th 2014.
  • By enrolling now with Open Colleges you could save a substantial amount on your self-education expenses, including Open Colleges’ course fees, where you are eligible to claim a tax deduction in your 2013/2014 income tax return.

Do you need more information?

A summary of the changes to the education sector:

  • The 20% loan fee on VET FEE-HELP will be removed in 2015, which may result in providers raising fees.
  • Interest on VET FEE-HELP loans will no longer be indexed to the Consumer Price Index ‘CPI’ (currently 2.9%), but to the rate equivalent to the yields on 10 year bonds issued by the Australian Government, which may increase above the CPI resulting in increasing loan amounts.
  • Apprentices may be able to access a loan scheme similar to a FEE-HELP style loan called the Trade Support Loans Programme, which is to encourage apprentices to successfully complete their training.

 

10 Responses

  1. How do we get to this point? Was expenditure more than receipts! How best can we rectify the issues or does education become more expensive to aid a debit far exceeding what is affordable.

  2. Helen Sese says:

    Do you have any course on Human Resource Management Training?

  3. This article shows so little real understanding of the impact of the Abbott gvernment’s proposed changes to education that it is hard to believe it is the product of an educational organisation. The article is spin. Whilst It appears that its main claim is that non-university students will be better off – which in itself is inaccurate, it also misrepresents the context of these proposed changes and their wider implication for all tertiary students.

    After largely acknowledging that costs will rise for students, you state, in part:
    “…The government intends to open up the education sector to further competition, which should mean better quality education for all as colleges and universities contend for students by improving their courses and competing on pricing.”

    To claim that these changes will mean “better quality education for all” is a completely specious notion. There is *no* evidence at all that “cost” or “competition” equate with either improved courses or better quality education.

    This government’s agenda has nothing to do with , improving either the quality of education or access to it. On the contrary, these changes will reduce or even eliminate access to education of choice for many students and will impose higher costs on all of them. Indeed, after painting a rosy picture of the government’s proposed changes your own article goes on to suggest that students need to move before the 30th June to avoid the higher charges under the government’s proposals:

    “By enrolling now with Open Colleges, students can avoid the cap. All Open Colleges courses can be completed at your own pace, within a time frame. By enrolling before 30th of June 2014 you could save a substantial amount on your course fee.
    If you are interested in undertaking training and education as part of your job, you need to enrol now to make the most of your potential deductions.”

    This is, of itself, a concession that the budget changes will increase costs, even in the non-university sector. You go on to list a number of changes that will, in fact, detriment students in a whole range of ways that effectively impose higher costs.

    The fact is that these proposed budget changes will *not* benefit students nor will they improve educational quality. At best, they may benefit some private providers, such as youself – which, of course, is the government’s real intention as it pours more and more public money into the private sector generally – and all at the expense of those on lower incomes.

    These changes will not benefit the non-university sector; they will simply add to the erosion of quality and choice that resulted from the changes that facilitated private provision under the Accredited Training Organisation scheme and which saw public TAFE college choice decimated as private providers picked out the most profitable course, ie. those requiring least cost to facilitate but for which they could charge high because employers would subsidise or indeed pay students to undertake them. The public institutions were left to provide all the trade and other high cost courses on reduced budgets and with deteriorating facilities and inadequate staffing.

    You have every right to promote your business and I have no argument with that. I do, however, strongly protest advertising that is misleading to all prospective students and which misrepresents the facts.

    • Yvette Maurice says:

      Thanks for your comments, Roger. There are many people with strong opinions on this issue. At Open Colleges we strongly suggest that prospective students do their own research and one of our core policies is “right student, right course” – meaning that we aim to match a student’s desired learning outcomes with their course. Students like Open Colleges because we provide flexibility that many on-campus courses cannot.

      If students have questions about how fees will be changed, we urge them to check out the government resources and to make their own decisions about which education provider to go with.

      Thanks again for your comments and have a great day.

      Yvette

  4. Nathan says:

    This Budget will impact higher education with universities and private colleges now able to set their own fees…
    For many Australians, particularly working adults, the vocational system (including TAFEs and private colleges) is now more practical, relevant and cost effective than the university system.

    These two statements in your article contradict themselves. One saying private colleges are effected and then that the other saying they won’t be.

    • Yvette Maurice says:

      Hi Nathan-

      Thanks for your comment. I agree with your statement that “for many Australians, particularly working adults, the vocational system (including TAFEs and private colleges) is now more practical, relevant and cost effective than the university system.”

      No one can exactly say how the education sector will be affected yet, in terms of whether fees will drop or go up, and it’s probably a case-by-case basis.

      Thanks for your comments.

      OC Blog

  5. Les Marks. says:

    Please let me know about available courses.

    Thanking you.

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