PACFA advocates for students in discussion with the Department of Social Services

13 December 2023

PACFA is pleased to share the latest updates from our ongoing advocacy efforts for graduates of programs accredited with conditions, particularly in the context of Master by coursework accreditation and its implications for student eligibility for government financial support.

On 20 November 2023, PACFA, represented by Nghi Robinson, Head of Education, engaged in a meeting with key stakeholders from the Department of Social Services and other National Alliance of Self-Regulating Health Professions (NASRHP) professional bodies. The discussion focused on the accreditation outcomes of Master by coursework programs and their alignment with Centrelink student funding.

This meeting was a significant step in PACFA’s efforts to ensure graduates of newly accredited Master programs, particularly those accredited with conditions, receive appropriate recognition. This recognition is essential for their eligibility for government financial support, such as Youth Allowance and Austudy, as outlined by Services Australia and StudyAssist. These payments play a crucial role in supporting students during their higher education journey, offering much-needed financial assistance.

An important outcome of the meeting was the confirmation by NASRHP professional bodies at the meeting of the accreditation status and its impact on student eligibility for registration and practice in their profession. All six professional bodies collectively agreed that students graduating from programs accredited with conditions are able to register and practice, similarly to those from programs accredited without conditions.

Key points and focuses of the meeting include:

  • Confirmation that graduates from programs accredited with conditions (conditional accreditation) receive the same level of recognition and are permitted to practice in their profession as those from programs accredited without conditions (full accreditation).
  • Highlighting the impact of accreditation status on student eligibility for Centrelink student funding.
  • Discussing the evidence, assurances, and reporting requirements for education providers when programs are with conditions.
  • Review of general timeframes, processes and reporting required by accrediting bodies in order for education providers to satisfy the requirements of accreditation and transition from a status of accredited with conditions to accredited without conditions.
  • Exploration of instances where programs accredited with conditions failed to meet requirements of the conditions imposed and discussed the implications for the students involved.

PACFA remains committed to advocating for our registered members and students, ensuring that accredited programs are recognised for their quality and rigor. We will continue to work closely with government bodies and professional associations to enhance the support and advancement of the profession.

Further updates on these important developments and our advocacy efforts will be provided as they arise. Please check back in with PACFA’s Latest News for the most up-to-date information.