Regulatory approach

The role of TEQSA is to safeguard the interests of all current and future students studying within Australia’s higher education system. It does this by regulating and assuring the quality of Australia’s higher education providers. TEQSA is responsible for the registration and re-registration of providers, and the accreditation and re-accreditation of courses.

TEQSA’s regulatory approach is standards and risk-based. It is guided by three regulatory principles - regulatory necessity, reflecting risk and proportionate regulation, when exercising its powers.

Standards based regulation

  • provider entry to, and continued operations within Australia’s higher education sector are determined by demonstrated compliance with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards)
  • the standards are developed and promulgated independently of TEQSA by the Higher Education Standards Panel
  • the standards apply to all providers, offering courses leading to a regulated higher education award, irrespective of where and how a course is delivered
  • while all providers must demonstrate adherence to the Threshold Standards,  TEQSA assesses these in the context of each provider’s circumstances
  • the standards are applied flexibly and with regard to the diversity of teaching methods and delivery modes that exist and are emerging within the sector. The standards are not intended, or applied, to limit higher achievement.

Risk-based regulation

  • TEQSA’s risk-based approach ensures that resources are directed to areas of higher risk based on validated, quality intelligence about a provider
  • TEQSA looks at risk in the context of an individual provider’s circumstances. 

TEQSA also has authority under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act (2000) for higher education providers, for providers of Foundation Programs and for providers of ELICOS courses of study in a pathway arrangement with a registered higher education provider.   

Key aspects of this approach include the Higher Education Standards Framework the Case Manager model, the Agency's Regulatory Risk Framework, the use of experts, and engagement with professional bodies.