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National VET regulator approves tuition assurance scheme

10 October 2013

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) – the national regulator for vocational education and training (VET) – has approved a new scheme aimed at protecting the fees students pay in advance for training.

ASQA Chief Commissioner Chris Robinson said the regulator had approved the Australian Council for Private Education and Training’s (ACPET) Australian Student Tuition Assurance Scheme (ASTAS) as a suitable measure to protect the fees prepaid by students.

“Registered training organisations (RTOs) must provide protection for student fees that are collected in advance of training being provided,” Mr Robinson said.

“The Standards for NVR Registered Training Organisations 2012 specify the acceptable options available to RTOs for ensuring the protection of prepaid student fees. The standards also provide for ASQA to approve alternative fee protection options, where it considers such options to be of equal rigour to the other available options.

“On behalf of their members, ACPET applied to ASQA seeking approval for the ASTAS and ASQA has approved their application.

“Following an extensive assessment, ASQA is satisfied that ACPET’s ASTAS provides robust protection of prepaid student fees.”

The primary focus of the ASTAS is to provide assurance to domestic students that they will receive the training for which they have paid. Where a RTO is unable to provide the training for which it has received payment, the student will be placed with a suitable alternative training provider or receive a refund of fees for training not provided.

ACPET’s ASTAS is currently the only tuition assurance scheme for domestic students that is currently approved and recognised by ASQA.

More information about ASTAS is available from the ACPET homepage.

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