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onCourse and ASQA: Protecting prepaid fees from learners (Standard 7.3)

edited July 2015 in News
The onCourse Student Management System includes many tools to assist your RTO to comply with the ASQA Standards for RTOs 2015. This new series of blog posts will focus on a particular standard and what options you have inside onCourse to set up your data in a compliant manner.

Standard Seven requires your RTO to have effective governance and administration arrangements in place. Clause 7.3 in particular requires you to protect prepaid fees by learners, stating:

7.3.  Where the RTO requires, either directly or through a third party, a prospective or current learner to prepay fees in excess of a total of $1500 (being the threshold prepaid fee amount), the RTO must meet the requirements set out in the Requirements for Fee Protection in Schedule 6.

In summary, this clause requires you to participate in either a tuition assurance scheme via bank guarantee or an approved insurance policy (things that will cost you money), or to limit your collection of fees prior to training to a maximum of $1500, and then ensure that the structure for collecting the remaining fees means that you never have collected more than $1500 in advance of delivery.

For example, if you offer a 10-week course that costs $2000, the course costs $200 per week. Therefore, you could collect $1500 at the time of enrolment and the remaining $500 after week seven without needing to have any protection measures in place.

The ASQA User Guides to the Standards have some excellent case studies of different ways you can meet the requirements of this standard and the Payment Plan feature in onCourse allows you to meet this requirement by both limiting the fee you collect upfront, and then scheduling future payments based on the delivery structure of the class.

For every class you create in onCourse, you can define a unique payment plan that applies to the students enrolling. You can access this feature by double clicking on the student fee in the class budget tab, and breaking your total fee into as many components as you desire.

The first payment amount in the payment plan is 'on enrolment' and each subsequent payment is defined as an offset number of days from the start of the class. These can be calculated on days plus or minus the start date.

A payment plan begins with the collection of a deposit at the time of enrolment. You can define this amount as anything up to $1500, in regards to this RTO standard. onCourse allows you define the amount payable on enrolment as any value, as not all users of onCourse are bound by this restriction.

As a marketing decision, you may choose to take a smaller amount of money at the time of enrolment, and then make the difference between the enrolment deposit and the maximum $1500 liability on the first day of class.

For example, you may decide you want to make the online enrolment process as financially accessible as possible for all students, so for a $3000 3 month course, you may set the amount payable on enrolment to $100.

On the start date of the class, you may require another payment of $1400 to be made. This now means you have collected the maximum $1500 prepaid fee liability before delivering any training to the student.

This liability will be exhausted halfway through the class (45 days into the training). On day 46, you may require another payment of $1500, bringing you back up to holding a $1500 liability for the training not yet delivered.

On enrolment, the student will issued with an invoice for the full amount of their training, but only the deposit amount will be 'due' for payment. This deposit amount will require payment during the online enrolment, with a payment due date schedule showing them when the other amounts become due.

If a student enrols in a class after a second payment has become due, their 'deposit' will be the sum of the amount payable on enrolment, plus any amount already due. In the example given above, if a student enrolled in training on the second day of the class, their 'deposit' would be billed at $1500.

You can also modify the payment plan for each individual student at the invoice level, breaking their payments into smaller more frequent components, or perhaps providing them with an extension of the due date for a particular payment they are unable to meet.

More information about creating and editing payment plans is available in the User Manual

How can I calculate my student pre-paid fee liability in onCourse if I don't want to use payment plans?

onCourse also include a real time pre-paid fee liability calculation for all your enrolment fees, for both VET and non-VET courses. As a responsible business manager, regardless of meeting the Standards for RTOs, it is important to know at any point in time what income you are holding in liability, versus the income you have actually 'earnt' by delivering training to students.

Visit the onCourse user handbook for more information about the pre-paid fee liability and income deferral.

At any point in time you can access your financial reports in onCourse to determine your whole of business current pre-paid fee liabilities, and ensure your bank guarantee amounts or tuition assurance scheme insurances are sufficient to cover this value.

Comments

  • Natalie, does access to the payment plan need a different licence that allows multiple fee components?

  • Hi Linda,

    This feature isn't restricted by licence, but this feature was only completed and made available from onCourse 7.2
    https://www.ish.com.au/oncourse/download/release-notes/release-notes-72

    Only cloud hosted and ish managed installation onCourse customers on our Rapid Deployment option have access to these minor releases. All of the features in the minor releases will become publicly available for self hosted users in the next major release (onCourse 8.0)

    Regards,
    Natalie

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