Review into Higher Education Provider Category Standards

Media Release
  • Minister for Education

A review into how higher education providers are categorised has recommended a simplified system that will benefit students and protect Australia’s international reputation.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan today released the Review of Australia’s Higher Education Provider Category Standards by Emeritus Professor Peter Coaldrake AO.

The standards define the different categories of higher education providers in Australia, and the requirements expected of them for registration.

Mr Tehan thanked Professor Coaldrake for his work and said the Government would consider the recommendations and respond in due course.

“Higher education institutions are evolving and we need to ensure that standards and regulations are keeping pace,” Mr Tehan said.

“This report has recommended clear definitions of what a university does, as well as minimum benchmarks for research activities.

“It also aims to ensure Australia’s higher education providers can continue to be innovative and aspirational in their outlook with a focus on delivering high-quality educational services to students.”
The review recommends:

  1. simplifying the current categories of higher education providers, by merging the university-related categories from five to two, and increasing from one to two the number of categories catering to other higher education providers;
  2. renaming the current Higher Education Provider category to ‘Institute of Higher Education’;
  3. creating a new category titled ‘National Institute of Higher Education’ for the highest performing higher education providers which are not universities;
  4. developing a guidance framework to better assist providers to successfully transition to other categories;
  5. maintaining research as a defining feature of what it means to be a university in Australia and introduce minimum benchmarks for the quantity and quality of research;
  6. introducing requirements related to industry engagement, civic leadership and community engagement in the university categories, and industry engagement requirements in the ‘National Institute of Higher Education’ category;
  7. amending the TEQSA Act 2011 to allow for ‘greenfield’ universities;
  8. amending the criteria for seeking self-accrediting authority;
  9. introducing greater transparency and awareness-raising of the HESP Standards; and
  10. referring the recommended changes to Part B of the Threshold Standards to the Higher Education Standards Panel for deliberation.

Professor Coaldrake said the report recommended the simplification and rebalancing of the current categories.

“The report seeks to protect the interests of students and Australia’s international reputation for higher education, as it creates a more streamlined and user-friendly system,” Professor Coaldrake said.

“The creation of a new category reserved for the highest performing non-university providers will foster innovation and aspiration.

“This will enable opportunities to build the cachet of all higher education providers across the sector and support their aspirations and growth, especially providers that are not universities.”

The final report is available at www.education.gov.au/review-higher-education-provider-category-standards.

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