Relevant and Irreverent News

Fees Free – Not So Simple

It all seemed so simple but as the detail is revealed it isn’t simple at all. Indeed TEC’s communication of 11 December 2017 entitled “Fees-Free tertiary education payment for SAC level 3 and above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework” completely gives the lie to the TEC’s earlier statement about Fees Free reporting to TEC that “Our objective is minimise additional reporting requirements.”

What a shame because it could have been simple but, instead, it is becoming a significant compliance burden. Read condition 15 in TEC’s 11 December communication and weep.

You have to feel sorry for the Minister because he is likely to catch the flak.

Clearly there are some things you need to do right now – like communicating with your students and modifying enrolment forms/student handbooks etc. Then there are some things that you can’t even start to do until TEC fills in the gaps. For example condition 15 requires you to report monthly but doesn’t tell you how.

I am compiling some material that will be useful when ensuring Fees Fee compliance. If you would like access to this material please contact me:

Richard@mercury.ac.nz

027 449-9187

2018 Funding Approval Conditions – Māori and Pasifika Trades Training reviewed

I have reviewed Māori and Pasifika Trades Training conditions and they are identical with the 2017 conditions.

Fishing Trip

Did you receive an email from TEC recently which stated “We have been working with StudyLink to monitor whether TEOs are reporting confirmed student enrolments correctly. Our analysis indicates that your organisation may have some enrolments that met the requirement for being reported under SoF 31 but were not reported in the SDR.

The email went on to say “Please review your enrolment data and if necessary, report any confirmed student enrolments that may not have been reported in August.”

Now, if TEC actually thinks you have confirmed enrolments which you have not reported, why don’t they give you the details instead of sending you off on a hunt without any guidance as to where to look?

Two of my clients have had TEC’s email and, on investigation, could not identify any unreported confirmed enrolments.

This would appear to be a case of TEC wantonly increasing your stress levels and compliance costs as part of an unnecessary fishing trip.

2018 Funding Approval Conditions – SAC1&2 Non-Competitive Reviewed

Please email me if you would like a copy of my review. If you are to use SAC1&2 Non-Competitive funding in 2018 I suggest that you read the review. There are some interesting differences between the 2017 and 2018 conditions, plus one rather obvious TEC whoopsie; such fun.

2018 Funding Approval Conditions – ILN Reviewed

  • I  have reviewed the 2018 Intensive Literacy and Numeracy (ILN) conditions and they are identical with the 2017 conditions. Yippee!

Dazed and Confused

I think I’m beginning to feel my age because I simply don’t understand the information being supplied by TEC about performance measurement.

Here is what I have found and don’t understand. Perhaps one of you can explain it to me?

  1. 2017 SAC3+ Funding Condition 8.1 (c) Criteria to be a “qualifying TEO” refers to an average 2016 course completion rate of 70%.
  2. The same 2018 SAC3+ Funding Condition refers to an average course 2017 completion rate of 70%.
  3. Historically 70% has been the basic threshold for ongoing funding. If you didn’t hit 70% in a return year (e.g. 2015) you wouldn’t receive any ongoing funding – i.e. a “zero initial allocation” would apply two years hence (that being in 2017 when 2015 was the return year). This method has been in place since 2012, albeit initially with a lower threshold.
  4. This threshold was different from the Performance Linked Funding (PLF) thresholds which could see you losing up to 5% of your funding.
  5. A TEC document circulated in October 2017 entitled “Changes to Educational Performance Indicators (EPIs) and performance-linked funding (PLF) for 2018 onwards” tells us several things:

5.1.    “There will be no PLF funding adjustments in 2018 based on 2017 (educational delivery performance data). This is because no thresholds were set for educational delivery in 2017 as the new EPI methodologies were under development and consultation. However 2017 EPI data will still be published.”

5.2.    “We are also making a small change to the definition of course completion rates following this year’s consultation process. The data used to calculate the course completion rate will now include the same students as used for the cohort-based qualification completion rate. This change will apply to 2017 performance onwards.”

  1. I have several questions. I’ll ask you first because maybe you have answers. Otherwise I guess that I will have to ask TEC and then wait, and wait, and wait ….. for answers.

6.1.    While the 2017 performance is not going to be taken into account for PLF purposes, is the modified 2017 SCC rate going to be taken into account for future initial allocations?

6.2.    If so commencing with which year?

6.3.    What are the details of the small change to the definition of the successful course completion rate from 2017?

6.4.    How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

2018 Funding Approval Conditions – SAC1&2 Competitive Reviewed

Please email me if you would like a copy of my review. If you are to use SAC1&2 Competitive funding in 2018 I suggest that you read the review. There are some interesting differences between the 2017 and 2018 conditions.

 

2018 Funding Approval Conditions – YG Reviewed

Following up on my previous post I have now reviewed TEC’s 2018 funding conditions for Youth Guarantee.

Please email me if you would like a copy of my review. If you are to use Youth Guarantee funding in 2018 I strongly suggest that you read the review. There are some very significant differences between the 2017 and 2018 conditions.

2018 Funding Approvals

Māori and Pasifika Trades Training reviewed and found to be unchanged since 2017. 2017-12-05.

TEC has started to release 2018 funding approvals and is to be congratulated for doing so much earlier than in previous years. Each funding approval letter comes with a set of funding conditions. You will recall that the fund-specific funding conditions for 2017 were a bit of a mess with inconsistent wording, botched cutting and pasting between funds, typos and other problems.

One hopes that the 2018 conditions are more reliable but one may be disappointed. To date I have seen just one set of conditions for one specific fund (SAC 3+) and that contains an error which will require TEC to send out a new set to all the affected TEOs, plus there are a couple of other oddities which may cause someone grief.

If you would like to receive details of the problems, please send me an email.

I am keen to review the conditions for other funds, so if you care to send me just the fund-specific conditions (usually Appendix 2) for other funds (Youth Guarantee, SAC1&2 Competitive, etc.) I will compare it with the 2017 equivalent and make my comparison available to you. Don’t send me the other sections of the funding approval document: Funding Confirmation, Appendix 1, the Base Funding Confirmation, or Organisation-Specific Conditions.

I will update this post with each fund that I have reviewed, so stay tuned in.

Funds Reviewed to Date

  • SAC3+ (Student Achievement Component – Provision at Level 3)
  • YG (Youth Guarantee)
  • SAC1&2 Competitive
  • Intensive Literary and Numeracy (ILN) reviewed and found to be unchanged since 2017.
  • SAC1&2 Non-Competitive
  • Māori and Pasifika Trades Training reviewed and found to be unchanged since 2017.

Free Post School Education

The Labour Party Manifesto included the following item: “Labour will progressively introduce 3 years of free post-school education, allowing access to university, polytechnic or on-job training for young New Zealanders and those who have not studied before.

Now that Labour is forming a government one assumes that tucked away in a dark room on The Terrace TEC already has a team preparing material to implement the policy. This notwithstanding Labour’s view that “the Tertiary Education Commission is not operating as it was envisaged by Labour when it was established in 2003.” After all who else is going to get the policy implemented for 2018, and I assume that providers are already being asked by prospective students “Do I have to pay fees next year?

The first thing that TEC team will need to do is get guidance from the new Minister on the details of the policy. The various pre-election documents published by Labour have little detail and actually raise some pretty interesting questions. Here are just four.

  • Are PTEs covered? The Manifesto says “allowing access to university, polytechnic or on-job training for young New Zealanders and those who have not studied before” but another document published by Labour states “Accelerating the three years’ free policy, starting with one year fees free full-time equivalent for everyone starting tertiary education or training for the first time from 1 January 2018”.
  • What exactly does “fees free” mean? For example are compulsory course costs covered, or just tuition fees?
  • What is the precise definition of “formal post-school education” in the sentence “Labour will ensure that 3 years of free post-school education is available to adult learners who have not participated in formal post-school education in the past”?
  • What are 3 years? Are we talking about three years (as a period of time) or three EFTS of study being free to cover part-time study?

Anyhow, being a helpful soul, I would suggest that the TEC team consider what George Bernard Shaw said: “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.” History is this case being National’s 1991 Study Right policy implemented in extreme haste and at great cost. Why, there was even a field in the SDR Course Enrolment file called “STUDYRT”. Maybe this field could be resuscitated?