As the first national collection of this kind, the NSC faced complexities in the process of collecting, compiling, processing and producing average subsidies, fees and prices in a consistent way. The most prominent of these are outlined below, along with some considerations for overcoming these in future collection exercises:
- The availability and accuracy of data on student tuition fees represents a key challenge in capturing the price of VET qualifications nationally. Currently not all jurisdictions collect data on the fees charged by RTOs for students accessing subsidies. Future collections would benefit from initiatives at the national or state and territory level aiming to improve the availability and transparency of fee information, such as a regular national collection of fees through NCVER or other mechanisms.
- Where subsidy rates differ between public and non-public providers, future collections would benefit from greater information on underlying funding differentials, to better consider the impact of these arrangements on reported subsidies and prices.
- The weighting of observations to calculate the average price a student faces requires use of VET enrolment data, which results in some lag between weights and prices.
- Nominal hours are included (where available) in the database to consider ‘per unit’ prices. However, the availability, quality and use of nominal hour information across jurisdictions differs, with future collections likely to benefit from the development of a consistent measure of hours for training delivery, as a unit of comparison.