Clauses 5.1 to 5.3—Informing and protecting students

Clause 5.1

Prior to enrolment or the commencement of training and assessment, whichever comes first, the RTO provides advice to the prospective learner about the training product appropriate to meeting the learner’s needs, taking into account the individual’s existing skills and competencies.

Clause 5.2

Prior to enrolment or the commencement of training and assessment, whichever comes first, the RTO provides, in print or through referral to an electronic copy, current and accurate information that enables the learner to make informed decisions about undertaking training with the RTO and at a minimum includes the following content:

  1. the code, title and currency of the training product to which the learner is to be enrolled, as published on the national register
  2. the training and assessment, and related educational and support services the RTO will provide to the learner including the:
    1. estimated duration
    2. expected locations at which it will be provided
    3. expected modes of delivery
    4. name and contact details of any third party that will provide training and/or assessment, and related educational and support services to the learner on the RTO’s behalf
    5. any work placement arrangements.
  3. the RTO’s obligations to the learner, including that the RTO is responsible for the quality of the training and assessment in compliance with these Standards, and for the issuance of the AQF [Australian Qualifications Framework] certification documentation
  4. the learner’s rights, including:
    1. details of the RTO’s complaints and appeals process required by Standard 6
    2. if the RTO, or a third party delivering training and assessment on its behalf, closes or ceases to deliver any part of the training product that the learner is enrolled in.
  5. the learner’s obligations:
    1. in relation to the repayment of any debt to be incurred under the VET [Vocational Education and Training] FEE-HELP scheme arising from the provision of services
    2. any requirements the RTO requires the learner to meet to enter and successfully complete their chosen training product
    3. any materials and equipment that the learner must provide
  6. information on the implications for the learner of government training entitlements and subsidy arrangements in relation to the delivery of the services.

Clause 5.3

Where the RTO collects fees from the individual learner, either directly or through a third party, the RTO provides or directs the learner to information prior to enrolment or the commencement of training and assessment, whichever comes first, specifying:

  1. all relevant fee information including:
    1. fees that must be paid to the RTO
    2. payment terms and conditions including deposits and refunds.
  2. the learner’s rights as a consumer, including but not limited to any statutory cooling-off period, if one applies
  3. the learner’s right to obtain a refund for services not provided by the RTO in the event the:
    1. arrangement is terminated early
    2. the RTO fails to provide the agreed services.

What clauses 5.1 to 5.3 mean for your RTO

You must provide clear information to prospective students to enable them to decide if your RTO and course is suitable for them, based on their existing skills and knowledge and any specific needs.

As required by clause 1.7, you need to identify any support an individual student needs through pre-enrolment or pre-training checks.

Before enrolment or commencement of training or assessment activities (Note that in this context, assessment includes the collection or analysis of evidence for recognition of prior learning (RPL) activities.), you must provide clear information to students about the following matters.

Full course code and title

  • To ensure prospective students can research the course you are offering, state the code and full title of the training product as listed on the national register,
  • Include any relevant currency information, such as whether a qualification has been superseded or removed from a training package.

Third-party arrangements 

If a third party is providing training and assessment in a VET course under an agreement with your RTO, they must market, advertise or recruit students for that VET course in the name of your RTO. All prospective students must understand that:

  • your RTO is responsible for the quality of training and assessment provided
  • your RTO is responsible for the issuing of all qualifications and statements of attainment
  • any changes to the arrangements will be communicated to them

You must also provide information on how students can lodge a complaint or appeal against either your RTO or the third party.

Venue, length and modes of delivery and/or assessment

  • Provide prospective students with clear information about:
    • where the training and/or assessment will take place
    • the estimated duration
    • the delivery mode or modes.

Entry requirements

  • To ensure students fully understand their obligations, inform prospective students of any entry requirements and/or specific requirements they need to meet to successfully complete the program.
  • You must also make it clear if students need to provide any materials and/or equipment, such as personal protective equipment.
  • Make it clear whether the training includes mandatory work placements. If mandatory work placements are part of the training, you must provide students with clear information on who will arrange these.

Support services

  • Provide information about support services available to students and any cost associated with them.

Fee information

  • If your RTO requires individual students to pay fees (this requirement does not apply if you contract with a company to deliver training to their employees, paid for by that company), provide fee information prior to enrolment or commencement of training/assessment (whichever is earliest) about:
    • all fees payable to your RTO, clearly describing all costs involved with the course
    • how and when fees must be paid
    • how to request a refund
    • the conditions under which a refund would be provided.
  • If you enrol a student under any loan or delayed payment arrangement (including a VET Student Loans arrangement), you must clearly state the terms of the arrangement, including:
    • any debt that may be incurred
    • when repayment is required and under what conditions
    • any associated fees, indexation or interest.

Funding entitlements

  • If students may be accessing any government funding entitlement that may reduce their ability to access such funding in the future (such as arrangements that limit funding to one qualification for a person), provide this information prior to enrolment.

Consumer rights

  • Inform prospective students about their rights as a consumer, in accordance with state/territory laws.
  • If state or territory laws where the course is being offered require a cooling-off period, you must provide information about this. Inform prospective students about the RTO’s complaints and appeal policy and procedure.
  • Your RTO must also notify learners when any change occurs that may affect the services you are providing them. This includes:
    • a change in ownership of the RTO, and/or
    • any changes to, or new third-party arrangements your RTO puts in place, for the delivery of services to those learners.

Information about the USI

A student’s unique student identifier (USI) is a mandatory component of Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) enrolment and competency issuance data. Data submitted that lacks a verified USI or an acceptable exemption code will fail an AVETMISS validation test.

RTOs that deliver training for which they have been granted an exemption under the National VET Data Policy from having to collect and report AVETMISS data must also advise prospective students that the results of their study will not be available on USI transcripts. (Note that this training activity must still be reported as aggregate competency commencement and completion data.)

ASQA strongly supports advice in the National VET Data Policy that RTOs should make every effort to verify a student’s USI at the point of enrolment. Ensuring this information is collected at the start of the student’s time with the RTO avoids data reporting problems later on, particularly in cases where the student discontinues their studies or has not yet completed at the time of data reporting. If a USI has not been obtained, AQF certification cannot be issued and the RTO’s AVETMISS data for that calendar year is unable to be submitted to the national provider collection.

A guide to compliance

RTOs must retain evidence showing these requirements have been complied with in full. Regardless of how the information is provided to prospective students, it must be accurate and conform to the planned training and assessment described in your RTO’s training and assessment strategies.

How can my RTO demonstrate and provide evidence of compliant practice?

The type of evidence will vary depending on how you present information to prospective students. For example, if your RTO provides the relevant information on its website, you must be able to demonstrate that each prospective student is directed to this information before they enrol.

Your RTO may provide relevant evidence by:

  • keeping a hard copy of the information provided to each student with the student file, including the date such information was provided and confirmation that each student has read and understood the information (for example, a student acknowledgement)
  • providing the content of information sessions conducted for prospective students about qualifications and attendance records
  • showing that students are provided with regularly reviewed and updated information about the licensing and regulatory requirements for particular qualifications, based on input sought from licensing bodies, ensuring that hard copy pre-enrolment information is consistent with electronically available information.

Guidance for applicants for initial registration

You must demonstrate that you have developed information that will meet the requirements of these clauses (for example, in relation to fees and charges, entry requirements and pathways from qualifications).

Additional requirements for VET Student Loans-approved providers

Providers approved to enrol students whose training is supported under the Department of Education’s VET Student Loans program must comply with additional enrolment requirements.

If your RTO is approved to offer VET Student Loans, you must ensure that students:

  • are fully informed of the tuition fees and other fees that apply to the course
  • understand their responsibilities, obligations and rights if they enrol in the course
  • understand their responsibilities, obligations and rights if they apply for a VET Student Loan.

A VET Student Loans-approved provider must also retain all information provided to a student during the enrolment process for a period of five years.

Students must be academically suited to undertake the course they are enrolling in. The VET Student Loans program includes minimum academic suitability requirements that students must meet to be eligible for the loans program. However, it is important to note that depending on the type, mode and amount of training your RTO is offering, individual students may need to have underpinning skills and knowledge in addition to these minimum requirements.

As part of the enrolment process, providers must issue a VET Student Loan Fee Notice and a Commonwealth Assistance Notice within designated timeframes.

For more information, please refer to the Department of Education’s VET Student Loans information.

Case study—Read before clicking

EFG Training accepts enrolments into a range of qualifications through its website.

Once a prospective student has selected the qualification they wish to enrol in, they are presented with a link to information relevant to that particular qualification. To proceed, the person must complete a declaration that they have read and understood the information. Only then can they complete the enrolment process. The RTO’s student management system records that the person completed the declaration and a copy of the declaration available on that date is retained in the RTO’s document management system.

Case study—Read before signing

HIJ Training offers a short course that runs each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Most people don’t enrol in advance, but turn up on the day expecting to be able to enrol and commence the program that day.

On arrival, students are handed a fact sheet containing all relevant information on the program. This includes a declaration to the student that—as HIJ Training holds an exemption from reporting data for this program to specified students—their assessment results will not appear on their authenticated VET transcript or be available to them via the USI system. The declaration includes space for a signature acknowledging that the learner has been fully informed about the course. The learner must sign this declaration before commencing the program.

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