Up to 60,000 students per year will no longer have to pay upfront fees to undertake vocational education and training, according to announcements released by the Prime Minister’s office.
VET diploma students will receive the same rights that university students have been receiving for years.
These rights, according to the PM office, include no upfront fees, access to an interest-free loan to pay for their study, and paying the loan back once their income reaches a certain level.
The VET skills package is part of the reforms the Gillard government announced yesterday to remove the cost barrier to obtaining higher vocational education.
“The Government will pay the upfront costs of a course as a loan and students will not have to repay the loan until they have secured a good job with enough income to allow them to make gradual repayments (currently an income of $47,196 per year),” said the PM office.
“The Government has put $1.75 billion on the table to work with the states and territories to deliver these reforms over the next five years.
“The offer is in addition to the $7.2 billion the Government will made available to the states and territories over the next five years for the VET system. In total, that is close to $9 billion dollars over the next five years.
“These reforms promise to deliver far-reaching changes that will make a difference to the lives of millions of Australian working families.”
The package will be discussed in next month’s Council of Australian Governments.