Admissions Transparency Implementation Working Group

Quick Reference Documents – February 2018

The Admissions Transparency Implementation Working Group (IWG) has released two information resources on the changes that prospective higher education students will see over the next year. The changes will affect admissions information aimed at applicants to study higher education in 2019 and beyond. The two documents are intended for different audiences:

These quick reference documents briefly outline the key changes that prospective applicants will see later in 2018 when seeking out information about higher education courses, their entry requirements and the application options and pathways available, whether through tertiary admission centres or by direct application to institutions.

Phase two Common Terminology and Information Sets

The Admissions Transparency Implementation Working Group (IWG) has released an updated specification for phase two implementation in 2018 of common admissions terminology and admissions information sets, which were outlined in the June 2017 joint higher education sector and Australian Government admissions transparency implementation plan.

This updated specification has been developed and agreed by the Admissions Transparency Implementation Working Group (IWG) incorporating input from institutions, peak bodies, students and career advisers, including feedback on the experience and outcomes of the publication of phase one information sets in August 2017.

The document contains:

  • a broader set of agreed common admission-related terms for adoption across the higher education sector
  • a public glossary of common admission-related terms that institutions and can use to clarify the definitions adopted across the sector to information users
  • minor adjustments to the whole-of-institution and program/course information sets for adoption in 2018.

The new information is intended to support domestic undergraduate applicants to study in 2019 and beyond at Australian higher education institutions.

Information on implementation process

The higher education Admissions Transparency Implementation Working Group (IWG) released its final agreed implementation plan on 5 July 2017. The plan identifies the actions that higher education sector stakeholders and relevant government agencies commit to delivering over 2017 and 2018 to improve access to clear and readily comparable information on higher education admission requirements and processes.

The documents below are intended to help higher education providers understand what is changing, when and how they can engage with those changes.

Final implementation plan

The plan has received the formal commitment of the following key higher education sector and related organisations:

  • Universities Australia
  • Australian Council for Private Education and Training
  • Council Of Private Higher Education
  • TAFE Directors Australia
  • Australasian Conference of Tertiary Admission Centres
  • Australasian Curriculum, Assessment and Certification Authorities – Chief Executives
  • Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency
  • Department of Education and Training

Download the final implementation plan

Development of the implementation plan has been informed by a public consultation process which received 54 written submissions. The IWG also held a series of meetings with key stakeholders to inform their consideration. Overall, the consultations identified very strong support for the principles and objectives detailed in the plan and a high level of commitment across the higher education sector to deliver meaningful change that will benefit prospective students and the wider public.

Information on the consultations, including submissions received, is available.

Role of the IWG

A sector-led working group was established in early 2017 to develop a practical response to recommendations from the Higher Education Standards Panel on improving the transparency of higher education admissions.

The Panel’s recommendations include changes to the way ATAR and other academic requirements are presented and clearer, easier to understand information about the wide range of different application and assessment pathways into higher education for school leavers, mature ages students and others interested in pursuing higher education.

In its response to the Panel’s report , the Australian Government accepted all fourteen of the Panel’s recommendations.

The IWG was established to develop a joint higher education sector and Government plan to implement the Panel’s recommendations. The response will aim to improve access to, and both the usefulness and comparability of, information about higher education course entry requirements and application processes across all higher education providers.

The implementation plan will capture the agreed actions to which higher education sector stakeholders and relevant government agencies commit in order to deliver the Panel’s recommendations. The IWG will consult with relevant stakeholders to ensure their engagement with and commitment to the terms of the implementation plan.

  • Priorities for the IWG include to: develop and endorse a statement of sector intent to adopt principles proposed by the HESP to facilitate transparency of higher education admission policies, processes and practices.
  • agree common admissions terminology and definitions
  • redefine ATAR-related thresholds and indicators to include the impact of all rounds of offers of places in higher education
  • endorse common sector-wide templates for the publication of institution level admissions policies and admission requirements, application pathways and other related information applicable to individual courses/fields of study, depending on the context
  • streamline processes for the acceptance and assessment of applications across state and territory borders

Delivering these changes will help to ensure that students and families are better able to navigate the complex array of course options, admission requirements and application pathways. It will also make providers more accountable for their enrolment decisions by focusing more on what’s in the best interests of students and the nation.

IWG Membership

Professor Kerri-Lee Krause, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), La Trobe University (Chair)

Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Australian National University

Professor Allan Evans, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, University of South Australia

Emeritus Professor Sue Willis, Former Vice-Provost (Education Programs), Monash University

Ms Helen Zimmerman, Head of Corporate Affairs, Navitas

Ms Sarah Lye, Student Senator, Australian Catholic University

Ms Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive, Universities Australia

Mr Conor King, Executive Director, Innovative Research Universities

Dr David Christie, Managing Director, Universities Admissions Centre (NSW & ACT) and Chair, Australasian Conference of Tertiary Admission Centres and

Mr Anthony McClaran, Chief Executive Officer, Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency


The aim is to implement as many of the recommendations as possible in time for the 2018 academic year. Some recommendations will take longer to implement.

The IWG will continue to monitor and support implementation of the plan and will finalise elements supporting implementation phases two and three by June 2018.