Tuition Protection and Provider Default

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What is tuition protection?

‘Tuition protection’ refers to the protections and assistance available to support VET Student Loans (VSL) students, in the event that their education provider defaults (ceases delivering their course or closes entirely).

The Australian Government’s Tuition Protection Service (TPS) provides tuition protection assistance for domestic students accessing a VSL, FEE‑HELP or HECS‑HELP loan at a private education provider, and international students.

Students

If you are a VSL student whose provider has closed or ceased delivering a course, you may be eligible to access tuition protection assistance. Please visit the TPS website for more information.

If you are an international student, or higher education student and would like information about the Tuition Protection Service, please visit the TPS website.

If you were a VET FEE‑HELP student whose provider closed, the VET Student Loans Ombudsman (VSLO) is best placed to assist you. Please visit the VSLO website for more information or call the VSLO on: 1300 362 072 (select option 2)

Support provided for other (non-loans) VET students impacted by a provider closure

Domestic students accessing state funding or subsidies: please contact your state or territory’s Department of Education.

Domestic VET students who paid up-front or gap payments to a provider: information to help you understand your next steps can be found on the What to do when your training provider closes page on the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) website.

Providers

From 1 January 2020, the Australian Government has expanded the successful Tuition Protection Service (TPS) for international students to include similar protections for domestic students accessing a VSL, or a FEE‑HELP or HECS‑HELP loan at a private education provider.

All non-exempt VSL providers are required to participate in the VSL Tuition Protection arrangements. The VSL Tuition Protection arrangements impose obligations and requirements on providers; and provide support and protections for VSL students in the event their private education provider defaults.

The new tuition protection arrangements are sector-funded and underpinned by a sustainable provider levy framework. The levy framework - developed by the Australian Government Actuary - will cover the long-term costs of tuition protection by requiring all non-exempt VSL providers to contribute annual levies commensurate with their size and risk.

In the event of a provider default, VSL students will be supported to continue their studies in an equivalent or similar course. In some circumstances, students may be entitled to receive a loan re-credit for parts of the course commenced but not completed.

TAFEs and other Government-owned providers are exempt from the new tuition protection arrangements, with the exception of obligations relating to providing information about replacement courses and obligations of replacement providers. These providers are required to provide tuition protection support and assistance for students in the event they default. ‘Table A’ Universities are exempt from all tuition protection requirements.

VSL providers’ obligations continue when they act as replacement providers for students displaced under the Interim Tuition Assurance arrangements.

Further information for providers is available on the TPS website or in the VSL Provider Manual.