Allocation of enabling, sub-bachelor and postgraduate Commonwealth supported places

The Australian Government provides Commonwealth supported places (CSPs) for enabling, sub-bachelor and postgraduate courses each year. In 2020, universities will have the flexibility to redistribute their allocated CSPs from enabling to sub-bachelor/or postgraduate level, or from sub-bachelor to postgraduate and vice-versa, in a cost neutral manner. These arrangements will only apply to Table A universities.

Allocation of enabling, sub-bachelor and postgraduate Commonwealth supported places

The Government is committed to a world-class higher education system that provides appropriate support for students, removes barriers for under-represented groups, and is sustainable for current and future generations. This policy for the allocation of enabling, sub‑bachelor and postgraduate CSPs is intended to provide flexibility in the higher education system that will ensure funding is used effectively and efficiently.

In 2020, each university’s allocation of enabling, sub-bachelor and postgraduate CSPs will remain the same as in 2019. Universities will now have the flexibility to redistribute their allocated CSPs 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 transfer their allocated CSPs 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.

Institutions are now free to utilise CSPs for any postgraduate courses that they believe meet the needs of their students. To maintain transparency on the use of CSPs for postgraduate courses, where a university wishes to redistribute CSPs to postgraduate courses that do not currently attract CSPs, the university should inform the department regarding its rationale for the move. This should address factors such as requirements for initial entry to a profession, demand and local economic or community need for the postgraduate course, or a focus on supporting access for underrepresented students including those in regional and remote locations.

Universities would be able to trade allocated designated places with one another, providing:

  • Traded places are cost neutral, where the value of the donor provider’s designated places is equal to the value of the recipient provider’s designated places. Traded places do not necessarily have to be at the same level.
  • Universities would need to demonstrate they have arrangements in place to take into account the number of places required in the pipeline of enrolments beyond the transfer to ensure students can complete their courses. 
  • Once a trade is agreed between institutions, the universities involved in the trade must notify the department in writing by 31 March of the year for which the trade applies, that is, in advance of the census date for the traded places. No retrospective trades will be considered.

Arrangements for 2021

For 2021, the Government may undertake a reallocation process of under-utilised CSPs, up to a maximum of five per cent of under-utilised CSPs, in accordance with clear reallocation criteria. This will ensure that taxpayer funding for higher education continues to be used in an efficient manner.