Quality and Legislative Frameworks

Australia's quality and legislative frameworks in higher education enhance and the quality and reputation of our higher education sector.

Quality regulation in higher education

Australia has a strong quality assurance framework which protects the reputation of Australian higher education. This includes the:

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA):

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF):

  • The national policy for regulated qualifications
  • Encompasses all sectors of Australian education and training
  • Includes policy on academic credit, recognition of prior learning and education pathways

Australian Higher Education Graduation Statement (AHEGS):

  • The guidelines for AHEGS presentation, content, issuing and authentication is administered by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Use of the word ‘university’

  • The Department of Education, Skills and Employment assesses individuals or groups wanting to use the word 'university' or its derivatives in their Australian business, company or domain name.

Review of the impact of the TEQSA Act on the higher education sector

The Minister for Education began a review of the impact of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (the Act) on the higher education sector, as required under Section 203.

Deloitte Access Economics undertook the review with steering oversight was provided by the Higher Education Standards Panel. 

The Government accepted the review report and released its response to its recommendations, along with the report and stakeholder submissions.

International education legislation

Australia provides rigorous protection for international students through various legislation and standards.

The standards set out specifications and procedures to ensure that registered providers of education and training courses can clearly understand and comply with their obligations under the National Code.

The standards include:

Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislation:

  • Requires institutions that provide education to international students, to meet nationally consistent standards in education delivery, facilities and services.
  • Enables the Australian Government to monitor education providers
  • Breaches of the Act are treated very seriously and the penalties can be significant.

Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS):

  • All institutions wanting to deliver courses to international students in Australia must be registered and meet special registration conditions.

National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2017:

  • Provides nationally consistent standards for the conduct of registered providers and the registration of their courses.

The Higher Education Standards Panel

The Higher Education Standards Panel is a legislative advisory body that:

  • Was established under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011
  • Provides advice and makes recommendations to the Minister/s of Education and TEQSA
  • Monitors the implementation of the Higher Education Standards Framework as well as the quality and standards of Australia's higher education system
  • Has had responsibility to provide oversight on TEQSA's deregulatory approach and performance since December 2014