Go to top of page

Admissions transparency

Group of students looking at computer


The Higher Education Standards Panel (HESP) released its report Improving the Transparency of Higher Education Admissions in October 2016. They found an increasing variety of application pathways and admissions processes in higher education, with many inconsistencies in the way admissions requirements are expressed.

A sector-led working group, the Admissions Transparency Implementation Working Group (IWG), was established in early 2017 to develop a practical response to the HESP’s recommendations, which includes changes to the way ATAR and other academic requirements are presented.

The Admissions Transparency Implementation Plan (July 2017) sets out six objectives and timeframes to implement the HESP’s recommendations, agreed to by key stakeholders in the Australian higher education sector.

The implementation plan’s six objectives include:

  1. Standardised presentation of admissions information
  2. Adoption of common admissions terminology
  3. Revised ATAR-related thresholds and definitions
  4. Tertiary Admission Centres adopt more consistent approaches and reporting and streamline interstate application processes
  5. TEQSA monitoring and guidance on admissions transparency
  6. New national admissions information platform

Implementation of objectives

A staged approach to the Admissions Transparency Implementation Plan’s objectives is being taken. By the end of August 2017, higher education providers were required to deliver a limited set of information in the new format to inform students entering study in 2018. The implementation plan explains what information should be provided and if the information is not hosted on the provider’s own website, links to the full provider and/or course set should be prominent and easily found by prospective students looking for information.

We undertook a formative evaluation of sector compliance and reported to the Implementation Working Group in October 2017. In July 2018 the IWG released a minor update to the phase two common terminology and information sets specification document for products intended to assist prospective students and applicants to study in 2019 and beyond. The update defined two additional terms and refined the ‘Essential requirements for admission’ section in addition to including the revisions made in December 2017 (revised common admissions terminology and admissions information sets).

The updates from December 2017 and July 2018 have been developed and agreed by the IWG, incorporating input from providers, peak bodies, students and career advisers, including feedback on the experience and outcomes of the publication of phase one information sets in August 2017.

The document contains:

  • a broader set of agreed common admission-related terms for adoption across the higher education sector
  • a public glossary of common admission-related terms that providers can use to clarify the definitions adopted across the sector to information users.

The IWG has released quick reference documents regarding the changes that prospective higher education students will see over the next year. The changes will affect admissions information aimed at applicants who will study higher education in 2019 and beyond. These documents are intended for different audiences. They are available from the Department of Education and Training's website:

TEQSA’s Good Practice Note: Making higher education admissions transparent for prospective students

TEQSA engaged Janet Beard, an expert in higher education admissions policy and practice, to review provider implementation of the admissions transparency requirements and identify examples of good practice in April 2019.

TEQSA’s Good Practice Note: Making higher education admissions transparent for prospective students provides background information, links to key resources, and suggestions illustrated with examples of good practice (current at the time of publication) that providers have put in place.

This Good Practice Note extends the Advice on Admissions Transparency that TEQSA released in February 2018.

TEQSA’s summative evaluation of admissions transparency actions

In September 2019, TEQSA will embark on its summative evaluation of the sector’s success in improving the transparency of higher education admissions and responding to the recommendations of the Higher Education Standards Panel.

This summative evaluation follows on from the formative evaluation conducted by TEQSA in 2017. In March 2020, following the summative evaluation, TEQSA will be required to report the results to the Minister for Education.

TEQSA’s advice on admissions transparency

Following the first phase of implementation of the Admissions Transparency Project, TEQSA conducted a formative evaluation by surveying all provider websites. Recognising that full implementation was not required in the first phase, we observed a number of things that might prevent prospective domestic undergraduate students from easily finding the information they need to make a decision about applying for a course.

Our Advice on Admissions Transparency is informed by findings from our formative evaluation of the implementation of admissions transparency and feedback from the IWG, providers, tertiary admission centres, students and peak bodies.

Capital city forums

In March and April 2018, TEQSA held forums in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane for administrators responsible for the implementation of admissions transparency.

The forum PowerPoint presentation and questions and answers are now available.


In response to provider requests, we have developed a checklist (PDF, 128 KB) (DOCX, 146 KB) to support the implementation of admissions transparency.

Future work

We will continue to monitor and report admissions transparency in the higher education sector and in 2020 will complete a comprehensive review and evaluation of the sector’s response to the HESP’s recommendations.

Need help?

We are here to help administrators with the challenges of implementing admissions transparency. Please contact us with any queries about the project by email admissions [at] teqsa.gov.au or phone 03 8306 2562.

Admissions transparency information webinars

From time to time, the Department of Education and Training and TEQSA co-present webinar information sessions. Links to the recordings from previous webinars are provided below. If you would like to be advised when the next webinar is on, please subscribe to the mailing list.

20 February 2018

30 August 2017

Admissions transparency mailing list

All information and updates about the Admissions Transparency Project will be emailed to higher education provider’s principal contacts. If you are not a TEQSA principal contact and would like to be added to the mailing list, please enter your information in our online form.