The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) is an independent statutory authority established in 2011. It sits within the Industry and Innovation portfolio.
The role and functions of TEQSA
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) regulates and assures the quality of Australia’s large, diverse and complex higher education sector. The higher education sector in total employs over 107,000 people in Australia and in 2009 had close to $19.9 billion in total revenue. The Australian higher education system comprises both public and private universities, Australian branches of overseas universities, and other higher education providers with and without self-accrediting authority. Qualifications available from higher education providers range from undergraduate awards, (bachelor degrees, associate degrees or advanced diplomas) to postgraduate awards, including graduate diplomas, masters degrees and doctoral degrees.
TEQSA registers and assesses the performance of higher education providers against the Higher Education Standards Framework. The Standards Framework comprises five domains: Provider Standards, Qualification Standards, Teaching and Learning Standards, Information Standards and Research Standards. The Provider Standards and Qualifications Standards are collectively the Threshold Standards, which all providers must meet in order to enter and remain within Australia’s higher education system.
TEQSA will undertake both compliance assessments and quality assessments. Compliance assessments involve assessing a particular provider’s compliance against the Threshold Standards for registration as a higher education provider. TEQSA may conduct quality assessments across the whole higher education sector, a sample of providers, or a single provider.
The Review of Australian Higher Education (the Bradley Review) recommended an independent national regulatory body be responsible for regulating all types of tertiary education. The Review team reasoned that a national approach would provide a more effective, streamlined and integrated sector, achieving a sustainable and responsible higher education system in the larger, more diverse and demand-driven environment.
In responding to the Bradley Review in 2009, the Australian Government announced a landmark reform package for higher education to expand the system and create new opportunities for all Australians to reach their potential in higher education. The Government also committed to ensuring that growth in the higher education system will be underpinned by a robust quality assurance and regulatory framework which places a renewed emphasis on student outcomes and the quality of the student experience.
In the 2010-11 Budget, the Australian Government allocated $70 million over four years to establish TEQSA as the new national body for higher education regulation and quality assurance. With a dual focus on ensuring that higher education providers meet minimum standards, as well as promoting best practice and improving the quality of the higher education sector as a whole, TEQSA is a ‘next generation’ regulator.
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act) established the agency and the new national regulatory and quality assurance environment for Australian higher education.
We administer two pieces of legislation: