TAFE welcomes fee deferral plan
NORTH Coast TAFE has welcomed a Federal Government proposal that would give TAFE students the chance to defer their course fees interest-free in a HECS-style system.
Under the Skills Plan proposal the government would abolish upfront fees for students in vocational education and training (VET) and provide a National Training Entitlement that would give every Australian a guaranteed place in training up to their first Certificate III.
The reforms are expected to cost the government $1.75 billion.
Federal MP Justine Elliot has applauded the announcement saying it will give Tweed residents without a post-school qualification the chance to up-skill and earn more money.
"No longer will local people be locked out of a higher qualification simply because they can't pay the fees upfront," Mrs Elliot said.
"Opening up a HECS-style system will put those wanting to undertake vocational education and training on a level footing with university students for the first time."
The offer is particularly appealing to rural and regional North Coast TAFE students who rely on completing a TAFE course before moving to metropolitan universities or starting distance education.
Institute director Elizabeth McGregor is looking forward to more discussion of the proposal at a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) next month.
"COAG has previously set a target of doubling by 2020 the number of people completing higher level VET qualifications," Ms McGregor said.
"We in North Coast TAFE welcome the thrust of these proposals as they recognise that the capabilities developed through undertaking TAFE diplomas or advanced diploma are equally important to our nation's productivity as university qualifications, and that students studying them are equally deserving of financial assistance.
"Apart from providing industry recognised, job-ready skills, a higher level TAFE course also gives a significant head start towards a university degree.
"Workers with a TAFE certificate or diploma could earn up to $10,000 a year extra or $400,000 more over their working lifetime."
The Skills Plan will also see the release of a new My Skills website later this year which will allow students to compare courses, fees, providers and the quality of training on offer.