The Australian Government's proposed higher education reform package remains in the Senate. The Government is currently considering options as reforming the higher education system remains a priority, both to maintain and enhance Australia's world-class higher education sector, and to ensure future funding arrangements remain sustainable, in line with the reforms announced in the 2017-18 Budget. For current information, visit the Government's reform package webpage.
The current members of the Higher Education Standards Panel are:
Professor Peter Shergold AC (chair)
Professor Alan Robson AO (member)
Professor Greg Craven (member)
Ms Karen Thomas (member)
The Hon Phil Honeywood (member)
Dr Krystal Evans (member)
Dr Don Owers (observer)
Professor Ian O'Connor (observer)
The Panel has been appointed for the period 1 February 2016 to 31 January 2018.
Over this period the Panel will undertake work and provide advice on a wide range of quality-related issues. It will help to ensure a smooth transition to a revised Higher Education Standards Framework, which will take effect in January 2017. It will also oversee a review of the impact of the TEQSA Act on the higher education system.
Improving transparency of higher education admissions
On 1 February 2016, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training, asked the Higher Education Standards Panel to provide him with options to improve the transparency of higher education student admissions policies, without significantly increasing regulation.
In response to the Minister's request, the Panel released a consultation paper on 6 April 2016.
The Panel received 82 written submissions in response to the consultation paper.
The Panel made 14 recommendations in its report, which was published on 16 November 2016. Key recommendations include that providers use common and consistent language to describe ATAR thresholds and other admission requirements; and publish information on admissions processes in agreed templates to ensure ease of comparison for prospective students and their parents.
Australian Government response to the Panel's report
The Government has accepted the Panel's recommendations and announced its response to the report. The Government will work with key stakeholders in Australia's higher education sector to develop a joint plan to implement the Panel's recommendations. As many of the recommendations as possible will be delivered for the start of the 2018 academic year.
As a follow-up to the work on admissions transparency, the Minister has asked the Panel to investigate trends in student completion and attrition and how institutions can be encouraged to support enrolled students through to course completion wherever possible.