Affected by the recent closure of private colleges?

Private providers in the Australian tertiary system have been under fire in recent times following the Federal Government’s decision to scrap the scandal-plagued VET-FEE-HELP student loan scheme. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has pursued six educational providers since late 2015, and there are more on the horizon.

Careers Australia was officially closed in May following a ruling that the company had breached Australian Consumer Law and “engaged in questionable conduct”, resulting in the reversal of $44 million worth of student debt. In total, the ACCC is seeking $460 million from Careers Australia and fellow providers Unique, AIPE, Empower, Phoenix Institute and Acquire Learning.

In many cases, students were promised free iPads and the prospect of student debts that would never need to be repaid. In reality, they were being served up sub-par education at inadequate facilities, with ‘qualifications’ that couldn’t be transferred to other institutions.

The State Government issued a press release on 26 May this year, urging the Turnbull Government to help stranded Careers Australia students, as the Victorian Government did not have a funding contract with the provider. Four days later, Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham offered a lifeline to thousands of victims, announcing that affected students would have the choice of continuing their training with TAFE or receive a refund through a tuition insurance scheme.

Here are three tips to help you complete your studies!

1.       If your private higher education provider has closed down…

Get in touch with either of the Australian government approved Tuition Assurance Scheme providers: Australian Council for Private Education and Training, or TAFE Directors Australia.

2.       If you’re an international student with questions about your private higher education provider…

Visit the Tuition Protection Service (TPS) website, email the TPS Administrator at or give them a call on 1300 980 434 (domestic) or +61 1300 80 434 (overseas). You can also contact the Overseas Students Ombudsman.

3.       If you aren’t sure where to start…

Head to The Good Universities Guide for information and advice about private providers.

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