EVOCCA College is refusing to reveal graduation rates at its Frankston campus in the wake of a damning Senate inquiry into the funding and management of vocational education and training (VET) providers.
The Queensland based college, which has more than 40 campuses nationwide, was one of several registered training organisations offering short diploma courses criticised in the report over its marketing to students (‘College’s marketing to students slammed’, The News 27/10/15).
The Senate committee heard allegations vulnerable students with little or no chance of completing courses are enrolled by some private sector operators to boost enrolment numbers and rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in profits at the expense of taxpayers.
The federal government banned private colleges earlier this year from offering so-called “free” iPads and laptops to persuade students to sign on the dotted line.
Students are signed up for “study now, pay later” deals with federal VET FEE-HELP funding, paid for by taxpayers, not having to be repaid until students earn at least $50,000 per year.
The Senate committee tasked with investigating the private colleges industry recommended the repayment threshold be lowered to $30,000 or $40,000.
When asked about graduation rates at its Frankston campus Evocca College communications executive Suzanne Ross said in a statement that the college “is focused on delivering quality vocational education and training that is geared towards students generating strong outcomes”.
“This year 79.4 per cent of graduates from Evocca College Frankston have either continued with further study or are in employment.”
When asked how many students had graduated at its Frankston campus, Ms Ross subsequently replied: “It’s Evocca’s policy not to disclose statistics relating to specific campuses.”
Data released by the Department of Education and Training reveals Evocca had 27,907 students enrolled nationally last year but just 1053 students completed courses, a completion rate of less than 4 per cent.
Evocca received more than $250 million in VET FEE-HELP funding in 2014 according to the Department’s figures.
“Evocca College has completion rates which are well in excess of the industry average for both public and private VET FEE-HELP providers,” Ms Ross said.
Department of Education and Training statistics show Evocca College’s benchmarked progress rate of units completed by students against units undertaken was 27.6 per cent against a national average of 64.4 per cent for VET FEE-HELP providers nationally.