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Australian government has suspended hundreds of millions of dollars in payments under the VET FEE-HELP scheme to 19 private colleges, The Australian reports.
Department of Education has launched an aggressive campaign against selected education institutes in Australia after it was revealed that these education providers were misusing taxpayer’s money by delivering substandard courses with dismal completion rates.
In addition to freezing payments of 19 colleges, nine education providers are being audited.
This crackdown comes after concerns were raised how these private colleges provided a certain amount as an estimate but later claimed millions of dollars from the government, at the time of reconciliation.
A Department of Education spokesman told The Australian that payments due for last year under the VET FEE-HELP scheme were recently put “on hold”.
He refused to divulge the amount but said the reconciliation process would identify whether providers owed the commonwealth money or were entitled to an extra payment.
He also said that further punitive action could be taken against colleges that failed the compliance test.
The spokesman said where “audits identify breaches, the department will undertake appropriate action.”
Lately, several education providers have come under scanner for claiming millions of dollars in funding through the VET FEE-HELP scheme after allegedly enrolling students through dubious means.
Australian Skills Quality Authority has alleged The Australian Institute of Professional Education used brokers to enrol students and lured them with drugs, alcohol and money. Barely 1.3% of the 16000 students enrolled completed training at this college, while the college collected $243 million in funding through the VET FEE-HELP scheme, The Australian wrote.