You may have read the notice sent out by TEC on 4 April titled “Confirmed Student Enrolments – further information and guidance for implementation”. It’s a classic communication: confusing, retrospective and ensuring still greater compliance effort on your part. I have a feeling that the document may need to be revised soon.
In the meantime, though, here are some initial thoughts about the notice as it affects PTEs. The notice has seven pages but only the front page is numbered, so the first thing for you to do is to complete the numbering yourself because the notes below refer to page numbers.
- Confirmed enrolments are to be reported only for enrolments funded by SAC3+ and SACL3+4 competitive provision. If you don’t have these types of funding you can stop reading.
- The test for a course enrolment to be reported as “Confirmed” is that the student has withdrawn from the course after the period during which they could have been refunded and before the enrolment could be claimed for funding. Effectively for a PTE this means the withdrawal is after 8 days for programmes longer than 3 months (or after 10% of the programme for shorter programmes) and before the student has completed 10% or 1 month of the duration of the course.
- Funding condition 4.2 describes the “after” state and funding condition 7.2 describes the “before” state.
- The term “withdrawal date” is now used by TEC to signify the end of the period during which a student may receive a refund. This is very confusing for most of us for two reasons. Firstly the Education Act carefully does not refer to a “withdrawal date”, and secondly most of us use the term “withdrawal date” to mean the date that a student withdrew which can be after the end of the period during which a student may receive a refund. Confusing?
- Note that TEC has added a section at the top of page 3 entitled “Determining when a student has withdrawn“. Read this carefully and ensure that your own withdrawal processes comply. The period which must elapse before you determine “disengagement” could be very important. If that is only 8 days or stretches out to the 10%/1 month period you will have no confirmed enrolments.
- The use of generic or sequential course enrolment dates has become more important because the balancing act between retaining fees, receiving funding, and protecting your course completion rate is now more of a challenge.
Give me a ring or send me a message if you would like to discuss these matters in more detail.