What is TEQSA?
We’re Australia’s independent national quality assurance and regulatory agency for higher education. Our purpose is to safeguard student interests and the reputation of Australia’s higher education sector by assuring the quality of higher education providers through a proportionate, risk-reflective approach to regulation.
Our work is underpinned by encouraging, supporting and recognising effective quality assurance and enhancement in Australian higher education providers.
In carrying out our regulatory work, we evaluate the performance of higher education providers against the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 which aims to safeguard the interests of current and future students.
When was TEQSA established?
In 2012 after a review of Australian higher education (the Bradley Review), it was recommended that an independent national regulator for all types of higher education be established.
The Australian Government’s response to the Bradley Review was a landmark reform package for higher education, which expanded the system and created new opportunities for all Australians to reach their education potential.
How does TEQSA operate?
As a standards and risk-based regulator. Our standards based regulation is centred on the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 that all providers must meet, and continue to meet, in order to be registered with TEQSA as an Australian higher education provider.
Operating as a risk-based regulator allows us to ensure that our resources are directed to areas of higher risk, based on quality intelligence about a higher education provider’s operations.
What is the legal framework that governs Australian higher education?
- The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act) which calls for TEQSA to regulate higher education using a standards-based quality framework and principles relating to regulatory necessity, risk and proportionality.
- The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 (HES Framework) which applies to all higher education providers. Set by the Minister for Education, on the advice of a panel with expertise in the delivery of higher education, they are the minimum level of achievement that a provider must meet (and maintain) to be registered to deliver higher education courses of study.
- The Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) which applies to providers offering higher education courses of study to students in Australia on student visas. These include:
- higher education courses
- Foundation Programs (except those delivered by schools)
- English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) programs delivered by higher education providers.
- The National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code 2018) provides nationally consistent standards for the conduct of registered education providers and the registration of their courses. The National Code also identifies the roles and responsibilities of the Australian, state and territory governments in discharging their regulatory functions.
What is the National Register of Higher Education Providers?
Also known as the National Register, it’s the authoritative source of information on the status of Australia’s higher education providers. You can search for registered higher education providers and their accredited courses of study. More information is available from our National Register of higher education providers
What is the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021?
A legislative instrument, also known as the HES Framework, set by the Minister for Education on the advice of a panel of experts in the delivery of higher education. The HES Framework consists of two parts:
- Part A: Standards for Higher Education – which represent the minimum acceptable requirements for the provision of higher education in or from Australia.
- Part B: Criteria for Higher Education Providers – which enables categorisation of different types of provider and whether a provider is responsible for self-accreditation of a course(s) of study it delivers.
The Standards in the HES Framework are intended to be useful to higher education providers as a framework for internal monitoring of the quality of their higher education activities.
About higher education
What does the higher education sector consist of?
It consists of higher education providers, Australian universities, Australian universities of specialisation and overseas universities.
You can search for a higher education provider, or their courses, on our National Register of higher education providers.
What is a higher education provider?
All providers of higher education registered by TEQSA, through meeting the requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 (HES Framework), become ‘higher education providers’. This title signals that the provider is a bona fide provider of quality higher education in Australia.
What is a higher education qualification?
Higher education qualifications span Australian Qualifications Framework levels 5-10, and include:
- undergraduate awards
- bachelor honours degrees
- bachelor degrees
- associate degrees
- advanced diplomas
- postgraduate awards
- higher doctoral degrees
- doctoral degrees
- masters degrees (by research)
- masters degrees (by coursework)
- masters degrees (extended)
- graduate diplomas
- graduate certificates.
How many students study in Australian higher education?
Around 1.5 million in 2017. For more information on sector statistics, view our Statistics report on TEQSA registered higher education providers from the publications section of our website.
The Department of Education collects data on all higher education providers approved under the Higher Education Support Act. To view these statistics visit the Department of Education’s Student Data web page.
For enquiries about Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, or Registered Training Organisations (RTO), contact the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).
Higher education and VET provider numbers, codes and names
The Australian Government’s Tertiary Collection of Student Information (TCSI) website includes a list of higher education and VET provider codes and names. If you have any enquiries regarding the list, please contact the TSCI team in the Department of Education.
Overseas providers and qualifications
TEQSA is unable to advise whether your degree is recognised in Australia. For information on recognition of foreign qualifications, we suggest that you consider visiting the Australian Government’s International Education website and note the information regarding the recognition of foreign qualifications.
The Department of Education can provide information about the status of an Australian institution and information about an Australian qualification to third parties. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
TEQSA does not offer courses of study. For information about studying in Australia please consider information available from the Study in Australia website.
TEQSA does not provide or advise on scholarships. Scholarships are offered by a range of organisations including the State and Federal departments of education and higher education providers, who can provide information about their scholarships or other assistance directly.
International students – study and/or scholarships
TEQSA does not have a role in advising on courses of study or scholarships available. For information about studying in Australia, we suggest that you consider information available from:
- Study in Australia website
This is the official Australian Government website for international students. The website is the trusted source of information for prospective international students, their families and agents to learn more about Australia as a place to study.
It contains carefully curated, practical and reliable information to help students make informed decisions about where they'd like to study in Australia, which course and institution best suits their needs, and what the experience can be like when they live and study here.
It also sets out to reassure prospective students about the laws, legislations and specialist services in place in Australia, which ensure every individual feels safe, welcomed, supported and protected while in Australia.
Study in Australia helps students to understand their rights and responsibilities on issues as diverse as visas, employment, and tuition fees, and is committed to looking after students every step of their study journey.
- ComparED / Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) website
This website is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education. You can find information for prospective students about Australian higher education institutions, from the viewpoint of recent students and graduates. You can then contact your preferred providers in Australia to enquire about their programs and scholarships they offer.
- Course Seeker website
Helps you make informed decisions about your future study by allowing you to access clear, meaningful and transparent information on ATARs/OPs, prerequisites and enrolment policies. Information has been sourced from across Australia and presented in a nationally consistent and comparable format to improve the transparency across the higher education sector.
- Department of Home Affairs website
You can also use its webform if you have queries about studying in Australia as an international student.
International students – Australia Award Scholarships
TEQSA does not provide or advise on scholarships.
The Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) administers the Australia Awards program, including the Australia Awards Scholarships. Information is available on the DFAT website.
Please note that the Australia Awards application may ask you to enter different types of CRICOS codes, that is, a CRICOS institution code (six digits) or a CRICOS course code (six digits and a letter).
If you have any queries about the Australia Awards program or your application, please contact the administrator at email@example.com.
Who can I contact if I have an issue with FEE-HELP?
For information about government assistance for financing higher education, visit the StudyAssist website.
Who can I contact if I have incorrectly incurred a FEE-HELP debt?
Government assistance for financing higher education is the responsibility of the Australian Government (not TEQSA). Disputes should be discussed with the higher education provider in the first instance, and lodged with StudyAssist via the online form.
Who can I contact if I have an issue with my student visa?
The Department of Home Affairs is responsible for student visas. For more information visit the Department of Home Affair’s student visa page.
Can I make a complaint to TEQSA about my higher education provider?
Yes. Complaints about higher education providers help us to gather information that assists us in the regulation of the sector. For more information visit our Complaints section.
How do I make a complaint about my higher education provider?
You should access the policies and procedures they have established to resolve complaints. These policies and procedures should be easily accessible, consistent, fair and confidential and provide advice and support.
In most cases, your complaint should be resolved locally and informally. However, you may need to use your provider’s formal complaints procedures. For more information visit our Complaints section.
How does TEQSA monitor risks to students?
We carry out annual risk assessments of all registered higher education providers, which examine the delivery of quality higher education and look for a range of possible risks to students. For more information, visit our Students section.
Why do higher education providers with international students have to pay CRICOS fees?
To cover costs associated with reviewing providers’ request for CRICOS registration, ensuring the integrity of the data on CRICOS. This allows CRICOS to meet its objective of being a reliable source of information on higher education courses for international students wanting to study in Australia.
Where can I find more information on TEQSA’s fees?
The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act) – Determination of Fees lists all of our activities which attract fees, including the amount charged.
I am having difficulty determining the fee I have to pay. Who can I talk to?
You can contact your case manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I withdraw an application for accreditation/registration?
Yes, but our fees are non-refundable.
Are there alternate payment options?
Do TEQSA’s fees attract GST?
TEQSA does not recruit students or use educational agents.
However, the mandatory standards for higher education providers offering Australian qualifications include requirements relevant to educational agents. See section 7.1 of the Higher Education Standards Framework 2021.
These standards require that agents and other parties that are involved in representing the higher education provider are bound by formal contracts with the provider. Their performance is monitored and prompt corrective action is taken in the event or likelihood of misrepresentation or unethical conduct.
The standards also require that representations, whether expressed or implied, about the outcomes associated with undertaking a course of study, eligibility for acceptance into another course of study, employment outcomes, or possible migration outcomes are not false or misleading.