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TEC takes action on false statutory declarations

The Tertiary Education Commission is laying charges under section 292A of the Education Act 1989 against three individuals for making a false representation for the purpose of receiving, or continuing to receive, free tertiary education from a tertiary education organisation.

It is alleged the individuals completed false statutory declarations to access fees-free tertiary education.

TEC takes any false statutory declarations very seriously. We look at each situation on a case-by-case basis and, following extensive investigations and consultation with the Office of the Crown Solicitor, we are taking proceedings against three individuals who we believe made false representations to access fees-free tertiary education.

Where an individual’s prior tertiary study and residency status cannot be verified though the existing data sources we use to determine automatic eligibility, they can make a statutory declaration to attest they meet the criteria to be made eligible. The vast majority of statutory declarations are completed accurately and honestly.

TEC has processes in place to identify, investigate, and take appropriate action when false declarations are identified. TEC takes action on every false declaration. We have developed a graduated approach, ranging from issuing a caution or a warning in less clear or serious cases, up to prosecutions in cases where there is clear evidence an offence has been committed.

Fees-free tertiary education is taxpayer funded so it’s important that the TEC manage public money prudently. The Government’s long-term goal is to make tertiary education and training affordable for all by expanding access and participation. Our monitoring seeks to protect the Government’s investment and the integrity of the fees-free scheme, and to dissuade others from making false declarations.

For legal reasons, TEC is unable to comment on the cases before the courts or any active investigations.

ends

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