Aussie colleges face probe for posing 'high risk' to international students

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Education authorities are probing over 17 colleges in the country for posing "high risk" for the overseas students, 'The Age' reported.


At least 10 of Victoria's biggest private colleges with international students are believed to have been briefed by the education regulator to be prepared to take in students should the colleges in question face temporary or permanent closure in the audit.


Private colleges are already under pressure to absorb more than 300, mostly Indian, community welfare students displaced after the financial collapse of Melbourne International College this month, it said.


The outcome of the investigation, being carried out by the state education regulator and the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, is expected to be announced in September.


Cambridge International College, which teaches about 10,000 international students, was one of the colleges that had been involved in talks with the regulator about the best way to manage displaced students, its marketing manager Phil Honeywood said.

Meanwhile, Sydney-based Sterling College also announced its closure, a move which will affect a large number of Indian students studying there.


The college operates several sites in Sydney's CBD, offering courses in English, financial services and hospitality and has over 500 enrolled students, according to ABC report.


About 35 employees have been laid off by the college which is struggling with severe financial crisis and is unable to pay salaries.


Quentin Olde from administrators Taylor Woodings said students face the loss of most of their tuition fees, which they paid in advance.


However, he said that he is not aware of any link with the ABC's Four Corners story about overseas tertiary students being ripped-off by migration and education agents.


"The only link is that this college does appear to have a number of Indian students, probably a significant number of the population," he said.


"Secondly it appears that be operated by originally Indian interests."


The administrators will hold emergency discussions with the Australian Council for Private Education and Training to see what support is available to those who are enrolled.


Sterling college also operates a campus in Brisbane, which the administrators say will stay open for the time being. A creditors meeting has been scheduled for August 6.

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