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TCSI—Essential Info You Need to Know

May 28, 2019

What's TCSI?

The Department of Education & Training and the Department of Human Services are developing a cleaner way for education providers to collect, review and report your information. The project is called TCSI (pronounced ‘taxi’), or Transforming the Collection of Student Information.

How will this be delivered?

Broadly, TCSI intends to use new technologies to make data collection more efficient, with an emphasis on reducing duplication, and improving quality, relevance and availability of data. TCSI also intends to relieve the reporting burden for training providers, by removing redundant information. Some of the proposed changes to data collection can be viewed (at a glance) here.

How does this affect me as a VET provider?

TCSI aims to alleviate the shortcomings of HEPCAT (the Higher Education Provider Client Assistance Tool) by replacing the system entirely. The system was developed with the help of education providers, so in theory, reporting should be easier, faster, and less complex, benefitting providers and students alike. TCSI is a mandatory change, but shouldn’t cause headaches for training organisations.

What will change?

TCSI is a huge overhaul for student reporting. Currently, you generate flat text files either monthly or quarterly, then upload them to HEPCAT. With TCSI, reporting is more regular and ad hoc. For example, student data is expected to be reported within 7 days of a significant event, such as a course enrolment for a student.

The TCSI project will provide two channels to replace HEPCAT, allowing education providers to continue submitting data for reporting requirements. One is the Business-to-Government (B2G) channel, where your student management system communicates with the department directly on your behalf. The other is a Provider Portal, where education providers can upload CSV files.

Why is TCSI a necessary change?

HEPCAT is inefficient—a rigid, difficult system to learn and manage. Troubleshooting errors can be a cumbersome process, and a single issue in reporting can result in whole files being invalidated. The development of TCSI has been spurred on by bad reporting practices, particularly with regards to reducing debt levels, and improving payment accuracy for governing bodies. TCSI seeks to improve many facets of education and training, including access to Youth Allowance and other payment processes, giving students better access to what they need, when they need it.

When is this expected to launch?

The Department of Education and Training is planning a soft launch of TCSI in mid-October 2019. HEPCAT will still be available for providers for 2019 reporting. But all providers must be reporting their data through TCSI by the 31st of May, 2020.

There are slight differences in reporting requirements for higher education institutions and VET providers. The Department of Education and Training has an in-depth implementation timeline you can view on their website.

What should you be doing?

Be prepared! The HEIMS TCSI page has updates and links to newsletters, webinars and workshop sessions. You can also register and subscribe to their newsletter. The Department of Education and Training will be rolling out a service hub to answer questions, support requests and other information you may need regarding TCSI. For a full and detailed list of the changes to reporting requirements, see the HEIMS website.

Your SMS provider should be aware of the changes needed for TCSI, and have a solution ready for you (here's what aXcelerate are doing for TCSI). At a technical level, this includes successful API calls and authentication against PRODA.

It’s a good idea to check with your SMS provider as to how the design solution will work for your business, and ensure that you have the support you need for a smooth transition to TCSI.

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