12 September 2000 Media Statement
Caveat emptor no more for private tertiary students
Students studying at private training establishments (PTEs) will be able to get their fees back, or an equivalent course
provided, should their provider close or be deregistered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Associate
Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.
Mr Maharey addressed the annual conference of the New Zealand Association of Private Education Providers in Wellington
this morning. Several recent high profile examples of financial failure or NZQA deregistration have shown that students
are vulnerable in cases where closure happens part way through their course. Students may have nothing to show for the
course fees they have paid, no prospect of any fee refund, and may be unable to access their academic records to gain
credit for work completed.
From 31 January 2001, the effective beginning of the 2001 academic year, NZQA will introduce a new registration
requirement on PTEs to include proof of adequate protection of student fees in the event of closure. Providers will be
required to either arrange fee protection insurance or enter into mutual support arrangements with other PTEs.
"Students committing to a course of study need to know that they are protected in the event that their education
provider ceases operating.
"National made it clear to PTE students that they were in a 'buyer beware' situation. The new Government totally rejects
that approach. The situation, for example, that students at the now-closed Te Tumu Wananga and Creative Learning
Environments found themselves in was untenable.
"Education must be centred on the learner and this Government has made it clear that we see it as NZQA's role to protect
the learner. Fee protection insurance, or an equivalent mutual support arrangement, will give students the effective
redress they have lacked to date.
"The majority of Government-funded PTEs already have some sort of fee protection arrangements in place. Their
reputations have been unfairly affected by the collapses of the few providers who failed to protect their students. This
new measure will address also those concerns," Steve Maharey said.