Variation across jurisdictions for the same qualification

Differences in approaches (and the availability of data) result in substantial variation in subsidy and fee levels across jurisdictions, and the number of jurisdictions offering funding, for a single qualification. The extent to which the subsidy drives the price, or the fee is the key driver, is explored below. Chart 1 shows the range in prices and subsidies, observed at the provider level, across the top 10 qualifications by national enrolment level in 2018.

Note: (a) Provider-level (or state level in regulated fee markets) observations are only included where both a subsidy and fee is observed; (b) Qualifications marked (*) are excluded due to small sample size.

The composition of the top 10 qualifications, and how this differs by delivery (i.e. apprenticeship/traineeship or not) is shown in further detail in Table 3. In general, the subsidy plays a larger role in the price of a qualification when delivered under an apprenticeship or traineeship than when not delivered under these delivery modes. This does, however, vary across qualifications and is influenced by policy settings in some jurisdictions to set low (or zero) fees for apprentices and trainees.

Table 3: Subsidy and fee composition of national average price, top 10 qualifications

Qualification   Subsidy
Fee  (%) Average qualification price(a)
Certificate III in Individual Support Non A/T 86% 14% $5,700
A/T 89% 11% $5,800
Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care Non A/T 86% 14% $11,500
A/T 91% 9% $12,800
Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care Non A/T 83% 17% $6,600
A/T 92% 8% $6,700
Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician Non A/T 75% 25% $13,400
A/T 93% 7% $16,000
Certificate III in Carpentry Non A/T 77% 23% $12,900
A/T 95% 5% $15,100
Certificate III in Hospitality Non A/T 84% 16% $4,200
A/T 88% 12% $4,500
Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways (b) Non A/T      
Certificate III in Plumbing Non A/T 77% 23% $13,200
A/T 95% 5% $21,700
Certificate II in Kitchen Operations Non A/T 79% 21% $2,700
A/T 80% 20% $3,700
Certificate III in Business Administration Non A/T 75% 25% $4,100
A/T 88% 12% $4,100
Top 10 average Non A/T 82% 18%  
A/T 90% 10%  

Note: (a) All prices are rounded to the nearest $100; (b) Observations with small sample sizes are excluded from the table; (c) This table comprises national weighted averages of subsidies, fees and prices. Observations are only included in the final calculation if both a subsidy and fee is observed.

Chart 2 shows the weighted average price by jurisdiction for high-volume Certificate I and Certificate II qualifications. This shows:

  • differing levels of price variation across qualifications
  • a general range of $2,000 to $5,000 in total price across these qualifications, with some jurisdiction averages outside these bounds.

Note: Qualifications masked with an asterisk (*) have small sample sizes and are not included in this analysis.

Chart 3 displays the same information for Certificate III qualifications. This shows:

  • relatively high variation across states and territories within a qualification (e.g. Certificate III in Plumbing and Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology);
  • low variation for some courses, including the Certificate III in Surface Extraction Operations and Certificate III in Customer Engagement, indicating similarity in costing and pricing methodologies across jurisdictions, and in provider fee rates; and
  • a ‘centre-point’ around which majority of prices are focused, with variation for some jurisdictions outside these bounds.

Analysis of high-volume Certificate IV and Diploma qualifications (Chart 4) shows:

  • no clear relationship between field of education and price variation for Certificate IV qualifications (e.g. price variation appears broadly equal for Certificate IV in Education Support, Certificate IV in Disability and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment);
  • increased variation for some higher level qualifications, including the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care and Diploma of Nursing; and
  • low price variation in courses in leadership and management.