Study Group Australia, the company responsible for the running of ANU College, has lost their accreditation to provide vocational training. The company is currently under assessment by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, the outcome of which will determine whether it can continue its ANU College programs.
ANU College provides alternative pathways to enter ANU for students who lack the requisite English level, entry score, or particular subject experience. ANU outsources these programs to Study Group Australia (SGA), which currently operates a large number of other private colleges nationally, including pathway colleges for the University of Sydney and Flinders University, in addition to vocation-specific colleges like the Australian College of Physical Education, and the Endeavour college of Natural Health .
However, SGA will no longer be able to offer vocational education and training (VET) courses, as a result of the outcome of an investigation by the national regulator, Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). This investigation involved “significant regulatory scrutiny” of SGA’s operations. The company was informed of the intent to cancel their accreditation in September 2017; it attempted to make improvements, but the AQSA deemed these inadequate and the accreditation was subsequently canceled in February this year. Current students studying VET qualifications at SGA colleges will be able to complete their studies, but no new students may be admitted.
An ANU spokesperson stated that the ruling “does not affect students at [ANU] College”, as it applies only to those VET courses administered by Study Group Australia, and the College does not provide such courses. ANU “maintains oversight for the delivery and standards of… programs offered through ANU College.”
Those tertiary courses provided by ANU college are instead regulated by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, who have stated that they are “aware of ASQA’s decision”, and are currently conducting their own investigation into SGA.
Responding to a question from Observer on the status of ANU College at the “Pizza with Brian” event, Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt conceded that SGA’s running of ANU College is “not perfect”, while maintaining that the company “does a pretty good job”. Schmidt went onto say that the task is outsourced because the university lacks the relevant expertise to run ANU College and the provision of training in-house by ANU before the outsourcing was “not ideal”.
ASQA’s investigation found that SGA fell short of national standards in a number of areas, including “insufficient resources, including trainers and assessors, to deliver the qualifications to the number of students enrolled”, “inaccurate and misleading sales and recruitment practices”, and an extremely low student completion rate . Also of concern was SGA’s “failure to provide an appropriate amount of training to learners”, and “assessment systems that did not comply with all requirements of the VET Quality Framework”. For some courses, the gap between the standards and the education provided was so great that ASQA have ordered that the completed qualifications of some students be revoked, pending further training.