Higher education is integral to the long term success of Australia’s intellectual and economic development. 

On 19 October 2020 the Australian Parliament passed legislation for the Job-ready Graduates Package (the package) of reforms to higher education. Changes proposed in this package affect student contributions and provide additional support for students in regional and remote Australia. The majority of these changes will commence on 1 January 2021.

We encourage both current and new students who will be studying from 1 January 2021 to talk to their current or intended higher education provider to confirm how these changes may affect their individual circumstances. Further information can be found on the Job-ready Graduates Package page.

More information on the additional support for students in regional and remote areas, including the new Tertiary Access Payment and the guaranteed Commonwealth Supported places for Indigenous students can be found on the More opportunities for regional students page.

Much of the funding provided by the Australian Government is directed at teaching and learning in higher education through a range of initiatives. These initiatives assist with infrastructure, student support, increasing equity and improving quality in higher education. The majority of funding is administered under the Higher Education Support Act (HESA) 2003.

Measures that are funded under HESA include:

  • the Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS), which provides funding to higher education providers to help subsidise students' tuition costs;
  • the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) arrangements which provide income contingent loans to help students meet their study costs.

HESA also makes other grants available to higher education providers for a variety of purposes. These include:

  • the Disability Support Program (DSP) provides funding to eligible higher education providers to improve access for students with disabilities;
  • the Indigenous Support Program provides grants to higher education providers to assist them to meet the needs of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students;
  • the Structural Adjustment Fund, which provided funding to assist universities to operate more competitively in the demand driven funding environment;
  • the Higher Education Participation and Partnership Program (HEPPP) supports universities efforts to increase participation of people who are from low socio-economic status backgrounds to attend university;
  • grants to a limited number of National Institutes to support ongoing operations;
  • the Promotion of Excellence in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education provides funding for initiatives to improve and recognise teaching and learning (this program ceased on 1 January 2018);
  • the Superannuation Program provides supplementary funding to eligible higher education providers to cover certain superannuation expenses for staff;
  • the Australian Maths and Science Partnerships Program (AMSPP) to improve student engagement in maths and science courses at university and schools, through innovative partnerships between universities, schools, and other relevant organisations.

Determinations are made each year confirming the grant amounts or advance amounts paid to each higher education provider in respect of grants made under HESA.

Higher education funding is indexed annually using the indexation factor for the relevant year in accordance with Part 5-6 of HESA.