Data Requests, Data Protocols and Data Privacy

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Data Requests and Data Protocols

People requiring tailor-made datasets, analyses or spreadsheets should first read through the Higher Education Data Protocol and then indicate their requirements by completing the Data Request Form. The Department charges for data requests.

From 1 January 2016, the Australian Government changed the Higher Education Statistics Collection charging policy for customised data requests in response to the Review of Australian Government Charging. The charge for bespoke data requests is $161 per hour (plus GST), with a minimum charge of $100 (plus GST).

Please be aware that due to the large number of customised requests received, they will be placed in a queue. We will attempt to provide data within four weeks, although more complex requests will take longer. No work will be undertaken until approval to proceed is given by the data requestor.

Requests or enquires about data requirements should be emailed to:


Data Privacy

It is an offence under section 179-10 of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA) for a departmental officer to disclose or use personal information (which has been obtained or created by an officer for the purposes of specific provisions in HESA or the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act)), if that use or disclosure did not occur in the course of the officer’s official employment. ‘Official employment’ is defined in HESA to mean the performance of duties or functions, or the exercise of powers under, or for the purposes of HESA, the Higher Education Support (HELP Tuition Protection Levy) Act 2020, the Higher Education (Up‑front Payments Tuition Protection Levy) Act 2020, the TEQSA Act or the VET Student Loans Act 2016.

In addition to this, the Department is also subject to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (the Privacy Act) and to the requirements of the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained in Schedule 1 of the Privacy Act. This places additional obligations on the Department in respect to how we handle personal information. For example, it places limits on the ways in which the Department can use and disclosure personal information (APP 6) and ensures that we take reasonable steps to protect any personal information we hold from misuse, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure (APP 11). For further information on how the Department handles personal information please see the Department’s Privacy Policy. To avoid any risk of disseminating personal information, a disclosure control technique called data suppression has been utilised to ensure that any information disclosed as part of this data request process is de-identified. As such, this information will no longer be considered to be personal information and is therefore no longer subject to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

In practice, data suppression means that cells that have values of less than five have been primarily suppressed and annotated as ‘< 5’. To prevent cells that have been primarily suppressed from being calculated, other cells may also need to be suppressed. This is known as consequential or secondary suppression. These cells are annotated as ‘np’ (not published). In the pivot tables, a disclosure control technique called input perturbation has been applied to the data, whereby small random adjustments are made to cell counts.

This is applicable to all of the Department of Education Higher Education data that is either published on the Department’s website or custom tabular data provided to clients