Exciting News for People who want to Study Natural Health ...
We speak to Brian Knight, director of the Health Arts College, about the fact that they can now offer VET Fee Help to their students ...
"We're excited!" declares Brian Knight via skype from Melbourne on the exciting government changes which mean his college, The Health Arts College, can now begin to launch across Australia. He's excited because they now have VET Fee Help, a federal government initiative which enables their students to do diplomas without having to pay the course fees upfront or during the courses - they only pay back the government later when they are earning above $43,000 per year. Open now for 8 years, The Health Arts College, which Brian loves to abbreviate into "THAcollege" has been working towards gaining this VET Fee aspect for two years. It means a surge in students at their current Melbourne campus, but they're also launching into Perth and Adelaide in early 2011, with Sydney and Brisbane to come in future years.
Brian can you explain when this VET Fee Help kicks off?
We will initially deliver this in Victoria immediately, and our plan is for Adelaide and Perth to come on in 2011. In Victoria we're doing this in conjunction with Skills Victoria, and then once that begins at the start of February 2011, then in Adelaide and Perth it will begin very soon after that, very likely at the end of February or start of March.
What are the implications for the student?
"If they're eligible for VET Fee Help, which every man, woman and child in Australia is eligible - providing they haven't used up their lifetime credit as such - every person in Australia has roughly $83,000 to use on tertiary and VET Fee Help ... and as long as you haven't used that up, you are eligible.
So throughout the training you don't pay anything, but once you qualify, you have to earn over, at this point in time, $43,000 gross before you start paying any of that back as a percentage.
And even after your study if you only earn $43K you don't pay anything, if you earn $45K gross then you pay a small percentage, and as you earn more, 50 or 60 or 70K or whatever, then you pay a higher percentage."
So someone who has done maybe a 3-year degree and then decided that career isn't for them, they could then come and study with you because they haven't used up all of their $83K allowance, is that right?
What about if it was a degree in medicine, wouldn't they have well and truly used up their $83K allocation?
Well that's an interesting example because doctors, vets and dentists are allowed $120K so they're in a different category to the rest of society.
I guess now is not the time for me to dwell further in envy over such people.
And of course people in that field would probably pay it off in the first month or two once they're working (laughs all around)!
Can students do this for a 1-year course, or two-year, what's the conditions?!
It must be a diploma minimum.
And a diploma to advanced diploma - in the VET part.
And what we're working on currently is making a degree available also, so we will apply for what's called "fee help" then so that students can go Certificate 4, diploma ... but see even though we say 'diploma', the VET Fee Help still pays for students to get to the diploma - and complete the diploma.
So it includes the training in the Certificate 4 to get to the diploma and complete it - does that make sense?
Because in most health training packages the Cert 4 is 'nested' in the diploma.
You have to complete the Cert 4 to get to the diploma.
And to clarify, the diploma is two years?
Normally two years yes, but we're actually talking about the possibility of an accelerated program that you'll do the diploma in two lots of five months.
May not be for Adelaide or Perth at this stage, but definitely in Melbourne for next year.
So students would attend two weekdays instead of weekends and evenings.
Would they be very long days, eg 8 up to 12-hour days?
No they'll probably be 9am to 4pm, something like that.
Blanket coverage in the context of the courses you offer, I assume the VET Fee Help applies to all the courses you offer at the college?
Only to the diplomas and advanced diplomas.
But in the context of three choices - kinesiology, aromatherapy and remedial massage?
No, we now have five courses: you've got Diploma of Remedial Massage - so you do the Cert 4 and then into the diploma - then you can go onto the Advanced Diploma of Remedial Massage which is MyotherapyYou can go Cert 4, Diploma and then Advanced Diploma of Aromatic Medicine.
That's the aromatherapy stream.
And then the kinesiology currently is Cert 4 into diploma only. We are working on the Advanced Diploma to coincide with the degree.
And then we have a Diploma of Reflexology. And we also have a Diploma of Beauty Therapy.
Does this relate to Austudy also?
All of our courses are also Austudy approved. But Austudy is quite a different thing - it means if you're eligible for a payment from Centrelink, you may be eligible for Austudy as well. Where they pay a portion to the student the payments don't come to us. So it's a different set-up.
As far as people in Perth and Adelaide, do they contact you via your websites?
We've got a 1300 number, and in fact you can go to the website and call us directly from there.
Will you personally be flying in to do the courses, or do you have people on the ground in Adelaide and Perth?
We'll have a combination of local and qualified external instructors who come in and deliver the material. My hope would be to train up professional instructors in Adelaide and Perth who can take up the training.
Now that your Health Arts College has gained this VET Fee Help, has this given you an advantage in the market?
Yes to a great extent. You'd have to look at the lists on the VET Fee site to check that ... but I do know that there is no other kinesiology college in Australia that has VET Fee Help.
The new courses, reflexology diploma for 2 years, can people do that as a Cert 4 as well?
No, Reflexology is diploma only - but it's done over 18 months. And it's only available in Melbourne at the moment. And the same applies to Beauty Therapy.
Is there anything else that people should know about it in relation to your college?
In Victoria, if students have the Skills Victoria subsidy they can put the fees that they need to pay onto the VET Fee Help so they don't have to pay any fees at all during their training, or for example if they've got a degree which means that in Victoria they're ineligible for the Skills Victoria subsidy, then they can also put that onto a VET Fee loan.
So it just means that it opens it up for everybody.
Being a holistic health / natural therapy college, did you encounter any resistance from within the government departments when it came to processing your VET Fee application?
No, I don't think they looked at what we were delivering, they just looked at us having all the right paperwork. I don't think what we are delivering is an issue - because they all want to be healthy as well.
I did feel sabotaged through the whole process, but not because it was natural therapies (laughs).
And is it right that a number of your courses can go on to be an official degree tying in with Charles Sturt University?
Currently you can go from our diplomas to advanced diplomas to Charles Sturt University. What we're planning for 2012 is that you'll stay under the same roof. You'll go from Cert 4 to diploma to advanced diploma to degree.
So it will be a 4-year course?
A 4 year degree, yes. Or it will be a two-and-a-half-year degree.
How do you plan to market this information?
A learned person told me to do a few Youtubes (laughs).
Can the college cope with all these extra students coming in the door?
We'll piss it in!
VET FEE-HELP brochure, booklet and application forms are now available at the College.
THA College will like to inform all students that we now have VET FEE-HELP. Whoohoo!!!! It has taken the administration team 2 years to finalised the process for all students.
VET FEE-HELP is a student loan scheme for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector that is part of the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP).
VET FEE-HELP assists eligible students undertaking certain VET courses of study (diploma, advanced diploma, graduate certificate and graduate diploma courses) with an approved VET provider, to pay for all or part of their tuition costs.
A VET provider is a registered training organisation who has been approved by the Australian Government to offer VET FEE-HELP assistance to their students.
For your information every person and child who is an Australian citizen currently has access to approx $83,000 life time credit for diploma into tertiary qualifications
More to follow from THA College to assist students in their life dreams. For more information, click here for the VET FEE-HELP government website.
What to do if you're interested:
Simply call the Health Arts College on 1300 658 326
or email them via: firstname.lastname@example.org
Article by Saul Khan of SEOtherapy.