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VET loans cut from 478 courses

AAP logoAAP 9/10/2016 Katina Curtis

Australians who want to study life coaching, circus arts, jewellery design, or the art of being a butler will have to pay their own way from next year.

The federal government has revealed the list of the 478 vocational courses it will withdraw student fee loans from once it overhauls the system.

Where students in 825 courses are now eligible for taxpayer-funded loans to cover their fees, starting from next year just 347 courses will be covered.

"Currently there are far too many courses that are being subsidised that are used simply to boost enrolments, or provide 'lifestyle' choices, but don't lead to work," Education Minister Simon Birmingham said on Monday.

Other courses, such as an Advanced Diploma of Police Witness Protection or qualifications in teaching students with autism, are ones that in legitimate circumstances should only be provided and paid for by employers, he said.

"We don't want to leave the scope that others may start to offer these services without them necessarily having that attuned focus to the employment outcomes that are needed."

Other courses that will no longer attract government loans to cover student fees include:

* Diploma of Styling (Fashion, Image and Media)

* Diploma of Creative Arts in Christian Ministry

* Graduate Certificate in Hairdressing Creative Leadership

* Diploma of Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultation

* Diploma of Local Government (Elected Member)

Decisions about what's in and what's out are based on the state list of skills in short supply and national economic priorities in areas like science, maths and agriculture.

Under the old scheme, if a provider was eligible to offer courses they could offer students government loans on any diploma and there was no way for authorities to reject funding for particular subjects.

The reduction in the eligible course list is part of the government's planned crackdown on VET loans, which have blown out from $325 million in 2012 to costing taxpayers $2.9 billion in 2015.

The planned overhaul will cap loans at $5000, $10,000 or $15,000 and require all private trainers to reapply to be eligible for offering government loans.

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