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Frequently asked questions regarding record keeping

What is the purpose of the new legislative requirements regarding record keeping?
Aren't providers already required to keep student records? How is this measure different from what is already required?
How does this measure benefit providers?
How does this measure benefit students?
How do providers provide proof they are adhering to the TPS requirements? Are they required to give financial records to auditors? How often?
Is consideration being given to auto uploads in PRISMS? Is it possible for students to access PRISMS directly to update their contact details?


What is the purpose of the new legislative requirements regarding record keeping?

The legislative amendments strengthen obligations on providers to keep up to date student records related to academic progress and contact details. The purpose of this measure is to:

  • make it easier to contact students affected by a provider closure and to facilitate timely and accurate placement in an alternative course
  • improve protection for the welfare of students, particularly those under 18 years of age
  • ensure students are kept informed of course progress and to support the timely identification of and intervention by the provider where a student is not making good course progress, and
  • improve provider business practice through effective student information systems.

Aren't providers already required to keep student records? How is this measure different from what is already required?

Currently, there are record-keeping requirements in both the ESOS Act and the National Code. These new measures strengthen the existing requirements to ensure records are up to date.

Currently, there are record-keeping requirements in both the ESOS Act and the National Code. These new measures strengthen the existing requirements to ensure records are up to date.

There are also specific new requirements and penalties related to ensuring academic records are kept up-to-date and ensuring the regulator is able to access these records at any time on request, including when a provider is under administration. This could be in the form of a routine request automated through PRISMS in a form prescribed in the regulations. Such a request is targeted to providers who have a history of non-compliance or who are assessed as at greater risk of closure as part of risk assessment requirements introduced in the legislation in April 2011. This encourages compliance with existing requirements and good practice in record keeping to assist with recognition of prior learning assessments and the timely placement of students in the event of a provider closure.

How does this measure benefit providers?

Providers benefit from improved management of student information in a number of ways. It supports smooth day-to-day operations and dealings with students, forward planning and early detection and intervention for students who may be at risk of failure to progress. It also helps with verifying information relevant to complaints and appeals processes, and enables the provider to contact students quickly when necessary.

How does this measure benefit students?

Students are more easily contacted by their providers. They are also less likely to miss out on important information or opportunities and may have improved access to their attainment records. Students are also likely to experience a smoother transition and recognition of prior learning process if they change providers or are placed following a closure. Under 18 year old students benefit from the strengthened compliance around welfare arrangements.

How do providers provide proof they are adhering to the TPS requirements? Are they required to give financial records to auditors? How often?

For all aspects of the TPS regime, including limits on prepaid fees, designated accounts, default notifications and reporting, student record keeping and contact detail requirements, providers need to be able to demonstrate that they are complying on the request of the regulator. This may include an audit of files (usually a sample) and financial statements that can demonstrate, for example, that the amount of funds held in the designated account is sufficient to cover all prepaid fees of all non-commenced students.

Is consideration being given to auto uploads in PRISMS? Is it possible for students to access PRISMS directly to update their contact details?

There is consideration being given to how best to facilitate the upload of student contact details into PRISMS to comply with existing requirements and to minimise data entry for providers. Providers will be advised if there are any changes to the way this information may be entered into PRISMS.

The recent amendment is a requirement on providers to have an active mechanism to keep provider-held student contact records up-to-date.