TAFE funding cuts in Australia–what do you do next?

The latest state and national budgets are heaping the pressure on TAFE funding. And the media coverage that inevitably follows, like The Australian’s “TAFEs spell out job losses in meetings with government as feds up pressure against cuts”, is also pretty depressing too.

CALUMO’s take on TAFE Funding challenges in Victoria

Roger DalCastello from CALUMO – one of our key Business Intelligence partners in Education – has a deeper look at the story in Victoria TAFE, and which has relevance nationally:


The Victorian TAFE Sector faces an uncertain future based on the Victorian State government’s May 1st 2012 decision to dramatically cut funding. The AEU estimates total cuts to tally $300m. The NTEU believe the cuts will cause the loss of up to 1,000 jobs over the next year. Some TAFE Course sectors will receive reduced funding by up to 80%, or in student contact hours, from around $8 to $1.50.

There can be no doubt the government is looking at TAFEs to become more commercial. Others suggest the government is looking to privatise TAFE by stealth. Whatever the agenda it is clear that from this point on TAFEs will need to “stand on their own two feet”. The ongoing increase in enrolments to private colleges means the landscape across Victorian VET is now at a competitive high.

The short-term stance taken by the Victorian Government is largely irrelevant. The future for TAFEs requires hard decisions to be made for the short, medium, and long-term benefit of each TAFE. The options to consider are broad and varied with some TAFEs already promoting job redundancies and course cuts.

To make an informed and optimal decision TAFEs need a capability to focus on the following key areas:

  • Course Profitability                                                      (present)
  • Course Profitability based on new funding cuts     (Jan 2013 enrolments)
  • Student Marketing Demographics                           (Jan 2013 enrolments)
  • Student Load                                                                (Jan 2013 enrolments)

To plan properly your organisation needs to understand the impact of the current funding cuts by sector to your current courses. At a granular level you need to quickly model how this will impact on your course profitability and ultimately your organisation’s bottom line. With the bulk of new enrolments on January 1st affected by funding cuts, we believe this to be an important deadline required for TAFE’s to be able ask and answer some or all of the following questions:

  • Under proposed funding cuts which of your courses will see the biggest change to profitability?
  • Under proposed funding cuts how many students need to enrol into a particular course for your organisation to break-even?
  • What possible outcomes are likely to occur based on the impact of increasing student fees on a course-by-course basis?
  • Which courses are we focusing our marketing effort on to increase enrolments? Are these courses still profitable under the proposed funding cuts? Should we focus our marketing effort on other courses and if so where?
  • What source of marketing drives the most referrals for any particular course?

How does CALUMO help tackle TAFE funding cuts?

The CALUMO for TAFE products mean that you can start to tackle the business challenges presented by using your existing data more effectively, to both analyse what’s happening now, as well as forecasting for the future. Whether the challenge is Course Profitability, managing current Student Load or future Student Load forecasting, the CALUMO system provides a way to look at the problem all up.

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