Aus college on verge of collapse, fate of Indians uncertain

Private college giant 'Carrick' has now sought financial help from Victorian government to guarantee its future. The institute is relying on a USD 10 million deal with Victorian public TAFE Holmesglen, The Australian reported. The deal, likely to be finalised by today, could result in Holmesglen securing up to 80 per cent of Carrick, it said.

Carrick runs several vocational courses including hospitality, tourism, events, community welfare work, business marketing and hairdressing besides other bachelor degrees and English programmes.

Its collapse would threaten more than 500 employees and 4000 students, including its inter-state operations in Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney. Financial results for the holding company Carrick Institute of Education, lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission earlier this month, revealed a USD 13.8 m loss in 2009-10 as it was hit by the collapse in the permanent-residency-driven market for international students.

It follows on from a USD 43 m loss the previous year, driven largely by a near USD 38 m impairment on the value of its intangible assets. The unnamed party is believed to be Holmesglen, which The Australian revealed last Thursday had taken out a fixed and floating charge over Carrick's assets of up to USD 10 m.

Carrick had previously been in talks on forming an alliance with the US-based Washington Post's education arm Kaplan, which appear to have fallen through. Victoria's Ted Baillieu government said it was in dialogue with Holmesglen on the deal.

"The government has sought assurances from the board of Holmesglen that appropriate steps have been taken to protect student welfare and the taxpayers' interests," a spokeswoman for Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall said.

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