The VET FEE-HELP debacle continues to cause havoc with the first reputable college saying it will no longer enrol students.
The Open Training Institute, an online vocational education provider, yesterday said it would teach out its current 3500 students, but enrol not new ones blaming consumer backlash from widespread rorting of VET FEE-HELP by a number of private colleges for softening demand.
“There has been a dampening in demand; there is a hesitancy on the part of students to enrol in programs, particularly the online programs,” said Paul Wappett, CEO of OTI, an offshoot of Open Universities Australia.
“We are seeing the whole sector suffer in how the public is viewing vocational education because of the practices that went on.”
OTI offered full-fee courses that did not come under the auspices of VET FEE-HELP. A diploma of business through OTI cost around $5000. By comparison, a similar qualification from one of the colleges associated with Acquire Learning was around $19,000. That provider is one of several that has been targeted by an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry for alleged false and misleading conduct in “pressuring’’ students to sign up to courses funded through the VET FEE-HELP loan scheme.
Mr Wappett said he understood many vocational providers were witnessing a similar drop in demand as a result of the current loans crisis.
OTI was established in 2013 as OUA sought to diversify its risk base as the demand-driven system and competitor universities ate into the organisation’s traditional student base.
“There has been increasing competition in higher education and we wanted to make sure we had diversification of risk. At the time we thought vocational education was a naturally ally but we’ve made the decision now we will concentrate on higher education,” Mr Wappett said.[Source:- Theaustralian]