What happened after the great VET FEE HELP debacle 

A learned reader reports that submissions to the Australian National Audit Office consideration of the VET student loan scheme are due on Friday. The scheme was created to replace the catastrophic VET FEE HELP programme.

The ANAO wants to know, “was an appropriate design process established to support the achievement of the government’s policy objectives?” and “were sound arrangements established to support the implementation and management of the program?”.

Loan-scheme expert Mark Warburton spelt out a bunch of issues on this in a paper for the L H Martin Institute in February ‘17, where he pointed to potentially expensive drafting errors in defining which courses incur, or not, a loan fee. Overall, he concluded, that the scheme was created quickly, and that “the objective of ensuring that the department has power to control providers has overridden almost every other consideration. It certainly overrode the development of a coherent scheme and any guarantee of fairness for students and consistency of outcomes for providers.”


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