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Students Interests To Be Protected

Students Interests To Be Protected

General Manager of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), Ann Clark, is reassuring Carich students that their educational and financial interests will be protected.

“Following Carich students being locked out of their classes today, the TEC is working with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), the Ministry of Education and Studylink to assist students. The NZQA is co-ordinating arrangements with other education providers for Carich students,” Ann Clark said.

“It is important students are aware that any credits they have are safeguarded. I want to reassure them that there are many other education providers where students can attend to complete their courses. There is also a helpline for student inquiries – 0800 QA HELP or 0800 72 4357. NZQA and TEC will also keep students informed through our websites: www.nzqa.govt.nz and www.tec.govt.nz.

“The government pays tertiary funding on the basis of forecasting numbers of students, which are then reconciled on a four-monthly basis against actual delivery.

“In 2002 Carich forecast it would teach 3,651 Equivalent Full Time Students (EFTSs) for the year. The Ministry of Education provided $20,247,880 in funding to Carich on that basis. “However, Carich subsequently notified that it had taught only 3,007 EFTS for 2002, which meant funding should have been $16.981 million. Carich was therefore required to pay back $3.266 million. This debt is owed to the TEC which was created on 1 January this year and has taken over the funding role of the Ministry of Education and the former Skill NZ for tertiary education.

“TEC has advised Carich on a number of occasions the basis on which any funding would be released and has been working with Carich since May this year to recover the debt.

“The TEC has been reclaiming the $3.2 million from Carich by redirecting monthly funding due to Carich for the education of Carich students since May this year. This has meant Carich has effectively repaid the TEC $2.15 million.

“However, Carich notified the TEC on 1 October this year that it wished to resubmit its student data return for 2002, claiming it had discovered more students for that period than it had previously claimed for.

“As this would be the third data return Carich has submitted for the same period, the TEC asked for an independent assessment of this student data return.

On 3 October 2003 TEC and Carich agreed to commission an independent assessor to review and audit the student enrolment and academic performance information held by Carich to support any funding determination. Carich engaged the assessor and signed off the Terms of Reference. The assessor is using internationally standard and benchmarked review methodology.

A final assessment of the number of funded places should be determined within two to three weeks.

“The TEC has a responsibility to act prudently and carefully in providing funds. The TEC cannot release funds without a reliable basis on which to determine funding. It needs a high level of confidence in the actual student numbers.

“The TEC had no role in the appointment of the receiver to Carich.

“We must always have plans in place to protect the educational and financial interests of students and the investment of public funds,” said Ms Clark.

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