Allocation of designated places FAQs

How much freedom do universities have to shift these places? Can a university swap its Commonwealth support places (CSPs) between these categories (i.e. enabling, sub-bachelor, post-grad)?

  • Universities can move places from enabling to sub-bachelor and/or postgraduate level, or from sub bachelor to postgraduate and vice-versa, in a cost neutral manner.
  • Universities would not be able to move places from either sub-bachelor or postgraduate to enabling. This is intended to encourage a greater focus on learning outcomes and movement of resources towards accredited qualifications that are transferable to other institutions, as highlighted by the Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework.
  • Information on the new arrangements is available here

Under the new arrangements, would the allocation of CSPs for enabling courses in the 2018-2020 funding agreements represent the maximum threshold in terms of CSP funding for enabling places?

  • Yes. The maximum funding for enabling CSPs will be based on the allocated enabling places specified in a university’s funding agreement. The dollar amount for the cap will be determined based on the university’s enabling course cluster profile for 2018.

In previous years, if a university exceeded its enabling course allocation, it was able to use some of its sub-bachelor allocation to fund these excess places. Would this arrangement be allowed to continue next year or even 2021?

  • No, universities will no longer be able to cross-subsidise enabling places with sub-bachelor allocation. Funding for enabling places will now only be provided up to the enabling allocation.

If a university were to move places out of enabling, but in future when demand for enabling places increased, would it be possible to move some or all of those places back as long as the total enabling places does not exceed the original allocation?

  • No. Under current policy, universities will not be able to increase their enabling allocation after it has been reduced.

Can institutions trade student places of one type for student places of a different type? Can they trade something else in exchange for places?

  • The transfer of designated places between universities do not necessarily have to be based on trading places.
  • Universities involved in a transfer would negotiate mutually agreeable terms for the trade (that do not breach any legal or ethical obligations) and then notify the department of the agreement by 31 March of the year for which the trade applies. For example, a university could offer to purchase places at a negotiated price with the donor university or offer access to infrastructure or services in exchange for places.

How will the 2021 reallocation of up to a maximum of five per cent of under-utilised CSPs be done? What is the rationale behind setting 5% of under-utilised places for redistribution?

  • Should the reallocation be required, the department would advise universities of the process and criteria prior to it taking place.
  • The department would establish a pool of CSPs for each course, using up to a maximum of five per cent of under-utilised CSPs. The department would reallocate places to universities through a competitive bidding process, similar to the one undertaken in 2019 of the 500 additional enabling and sub-bachelor places.
  • Criteria could include, for example, demonstrated student demand, student success, equity group participation or requirement for entry into practice.
  • A five per cent pool would create a reasonable size pool for redistribution across the system and create an incentive for efficient use of designated CSPs, without causing substantial disruption to the sector.