Cost recovery for regulatory activity - frequently asked questions

TEQSA is transitioning to an increased cost recovery model for most of our regulatory and quality assurance activities in accordance with the Australian Government Charging Framework and Cost Recovery Guidelines (AGCRG). This 3-year transition will be completed in 2025.

The following information aims to answer common questions from providers about TEQSA’s implementation of cost recovery for regulatory activities.

“You”, “I”, “my” and "your" means you as a registered higher education provider.

“Us”, “we” and “our” means us as the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

What is cost recovery?

Cost recovery involves the Australian Government charging the non-government sector some or all of the efficient costs of a specific government activity.

The characteristics of a government activity will determine the type of cost recovery charge used.

Further information about the Australian Government’s cost recovery guidelines is located on the Department of Finance website.

What are TEQSA’s fees and charges?

An updated version of TEQSA’s Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS), detailing the fees and charges that will apply from 1 January 2024, is now available.

TEQSA recovers its costs via:

1. A registered higher education provider charge (RHEP charge)
As a condition of registration, each registered higher education provider is required to pay the registered higher education provider charge (RHEP charge). The RHEP charge is the sum of a base component, that all providers pay, and a compliance component that providers pay to cover the cost of certain compliance activities (if any) undertaken in relation to them in the preceding calendar year.

2. Application fees
Set fees are payable by providers for each application they make to TEQSA, such as applications for registration, re-registration, accreditation and re-accreditation.

What does TEQSA do with the money it receives from cost recovery?

TEQSA is not the recipient of the recovered costs. All fees and charges are directed to the Commonwealth’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Registered higher education provider (RHEP) charge

What is the RHEP charge and how often do I have to pay it?

The annual RHEP charge is payable by all registered providers as a condition of their registration.

TEQSA will send providers an invoice relating to the RHEP charge annually. Please refer to the Registered Higher Education Provider (RHEP) charge page for more information.

Why is my RHEP charge more than last year?

There are several factors that can result in your Registered Higher Education Provider (RHEP) charge being higher in 2024 than 2023, even if your institution’s equivalent full-time student load has decreased.

These factors include:

Increase in the percentage chargeable for base component

  • TEQSA’s cost recovery model uses a phase-in approach for the base component of the RHEP charge. In 2023 providers were charged 20% of the total base component, in 2024 providers are being charged 50% of the total base component and, in 2025, providers will have to pay the full amount (100%) of the base component. This phase-in approach is designed to assist providers in adjusting to cost recovery and means that every provider will be charged more for the base component in 2024 than they were in 2023.

Small increase in the base component RHEP charge

  • This year’s invoices also reflect a small increase in the base component of the RHEP charge that was detailed in TEQSA’s updated Cost Recovery Implementation Statement which was released in November 2023 following sector consultation and approval by the Minister. The small increase in the amount providers would otherwise pay for the base component of the RHEP charge reflects a more accurate assessment of the amount TEQSA expends on regulatory activities benefiting the sector as a whole.

Compliance monitoring costs

  • This is the first year any providers will have been invoiced for the compliance component of the RHEP charge, if applicable. This component of the charge applies in relation to compliance activities, relevant only to a specific provider, conducted after 1 January 2023. Providers are required to pay for each relevant compliance-related activity undertaken in the previous calendar year.

Base component of the RHEP charge

What is the timeline for the phase-in of the base component of the RHEP charge?

The phased introduction of the base component of the RHEP charge for all providers began on 1 January 2023.

Under the phase-in approach, the base component of the charge will be 50% of the full amount from 1 January 2024 and then 100% from 1 January 2025.

Why can’t TEQSA roll compliance costs into the base component of the RHEP charge?

The base component recovers TEQSA’s costs in relation to activities that cannot be attributed to a single provider such as costs relating to risk and compliance activity that applies across the sector.

The costs recovered via the compliance component of the RHEP charge arise from concerns about an individual provider. The relevant provider will be required to pay the charges associated with compliance activities undertaken by TEQSA. A principal consideration here is that individual providers subject to investigations and compliance assessments, rather than all providers, should bear the costs of these specific activities.

Are providers charged for 'investigations' prompted by false allegations?

TEQSA will only commence an investigation or compliance assessment where our preliminary assessment has confirmed there is a reasonable basis for a substantive concern. Investigations (which are rare) and compliance assessments will not be commenced without a proper basis.

As cost recovery is based on activity undertaken, the cost is payable even when the outcome of the assessment is not to take regulatory action.

Will providers be charged a fixed rate regardless of the duration, nature or level of intensity of reporting required by that condition?

From 2024 onwards, providers will pay a fixed rate charge in relation to any conditions that applied to the provider’s registration, or the accreditation of a course of study, in the previous calendar year. The rate recovered in relation to conditions monitoring will not differ based on the duration, nature or level of intensity of those conditions or when those conditions were imposed.

Is there a separate charge for the annual compliance program if a provider is selected to be part of it?

No. The RHEP charge includes a base component that all providers have to pay. The base component recovers TEQSA’s costs in relation to activities that cannot be attributed to a single provider (such as costs relating to risk and compliance activity that applies across the sector).

A provider’s RHEP charge will only include additional amounts, as part of the compliance component of the charge, for a compliance assessment or investigation where TEQSA’s preliminary assessment of an allegation or complaint has confirmed there is a reasonable basis for a substantive concern. Investigations (which are rare) and compliance assessments will not be commenced without a proper basis.

Is there an expected length of time for a compliance assessment or investigation to be completed?

TEQSA will only commence an investigation or compliance assessment where our preliminary assessment has confirmed there is a reasonable basis for a substantive concern. Investigations (which are rare) and compliance assessments will not be commenced without a proper basis.

It is not possible to provide an accurate estimate on the amount of time it will take to complete a compliance assessment. However, TEQSA charges a set fee per compliance assessment that does not vary based on the amount of time the assessment takes.

While an investigation is charged based on time spent, TEQSA conducts investigations rarely so it is not possible to provide an estimate of how long an investigation is likely to take. Further, the answer to this question will always depend upon the particular investigation.

Application fees

Providers pay a set fee for each application they make to TEQSA, such as applications for registration, re-registration, accreditation and re-accreditation.

Are there discounts for smaller providers on the fees for applications?

Discounts of up to 70% apply to the fees associated with course accreditation and re-accreditation for providers with less than 5,000 EFTSL (equivalent full time student load).

Are providers that are currently self-accrediting required to pay just the registration renewal fee or fees for both registration renewal and self-accreditation?

No. If a provider is already self-accrediting or is not seeking self-accrediting authority, it will only need to pay the registration renewal fee. If a provider is applying for registration renewal and is seeking self-accrediting authority, it will need to pay a fee for both the registration renewal and self-accreditation.

What is the definition of a ‘nested set’ of courses for the purposes of cost recovery?

For the purposes of cost recovery, a nested set of courses means a set of courses consisting of:

  • one primary course of study and
  • one or more related courses of study.

A ‘related course’ is a course of study:

  • entirely made up of units taken from the primary course study, and
  • offered by the same registered higher education provider.

General information

Do providers have to pay for answers to simple requests to TEQSA?

We do not charge for answers to simple requests and inquiries. Activities we do charge for are outlined in the Application fees page of our website.

Will there be consultation about any changes to fees and charges?

TEQSA will always consult with the sector on any proposed changes to its fees and charges.

The Australian Government Cost Recovery Policy requires TEQSA to develop and implement an ongoing engagement strategy in consultation with stakeholders.

In 2023, TEQSA has reviewed its fees and charges, focusing on ensuring the initial assumptions contained within the 2022 version of the CRIS remain accurate and that we continue to fairly reflect the cost of delivering our regulatory activities.

Following consultation with the sector, TEQSA has published the updated version of the CRIS to take effect from 1 January 2024.

Who should I speak with if I have questions about changes to TEQSA’s fees and charges?

If the information you are seeking is not currently addressed on our website, please email your enquiry to costrecovery@teqsa.gov.au and we will respond promptly.

Can providers speak to a TEQSA representative about cost recovery in relation to their specific circumstances?

In the first instance, please refer to our website for comprehensive resources and answers to frequently asked questions.

If the information you are seeking is not currently addressed on our website, please email your enquiry to costrecovery@teqsa.gov.au and we will respond promptly.

My question is not covered here, what can I do?

TEQSA will update the FAQs on our website as required. If the answer to your question is not covered here, please send an email to costrecovery@teqsa.gov.au and we will respond promptly.

Last updated:

Related links