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Fees and charges consultation - frequently asked questions

Updated 30 April 2021

Why is TEQSA seeking to increase its cost-recovery?

The 2018–19 Commonwealth Budget provided for TEQSA to begin operating as a full cost recovery agency from 1 July 2020. 

This was subsequently delayed, with the Australian Government extending a waiver on regulatory fees until 31 December 2021, as part of the Australian Government’s support for the sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the Australian Government Charging Framework, full cost recovery means an agency’s activities are fully funded by fees and charges.

TEQSA presently operates as a partial cost-recovery agency, with fees and charges covering about 10 per cent of TEQSA’s regulatory and quality assurance costs.

The proposal outlined in the consultation paper would see TEQSA’s fees and charges cover about 90 per cent of TEQSA’s regulatory and quality assurance costs.

The transition to a new fees and charges model will bring TEQSA into line with other regulatory agencies that operate on a full cost recovery model in accordance with Australian Government policy.

What is the consultation process?

TEQSA has released a consultation paper outlining a new fees and charges model for the agency to support full cost recovery.

You can view the consultation paper and make a submission in response to the discussion paper’s questions via the TEQSA website.

To support stakeholders in providing feedback, you can make use of a response template, if you wish.

The consultation period closes on Thursday 3 June 2021 at 5pm AEST.

If you have any questions, please email consultation [at] teqsa.gov.au.

How much extra does TEQSA expect to raise from this proposed fees and charges model compared to its current partial recovery approach?

TEQSA presently operates as a partial cost-recovery agency, with fees and charges covering about 10 per cent of TEQSA’s regulatory and quality assurance costs.

The proposal outlined in the consultation paper would see TEQSA’s fees and charges cover about 90 per cent of the agency’s regulatory and quality assurance costs.

The transition to a new fees and charges model will bring TEQSA into line with other regulatory agencies that operate on a full cost recovery model in accordance with Australian Government policy.

What are the features of the proposed model? How does this vary from the current model?

The approach to cost recovery set out in the consultation paper is structured around three key elements. 

These are:

  • Application-based charges to be calculated in accordance with the Australian Government Charging Framework (AGCF) and introduced from 1 January 2022. These fees will recover 100 per cent of the cost of delivering the service. For course accreditation and reaccreditation assessments only, a sliding scale of up to 70 per cent of the actual cost, linked to the relative size of the provider’s student load, will be applied.
  • Single provider charges for ‘stand-alone’ or provider specific regulatory activities (investigations, compliance assessments and conditions monitoring), to be calculated on a per hour basis and charged to that provider (introduced at 100 per cent from 1 January 2022).
  • An annual levy that covers the costs of TEQSA’s regulatory effort for non-application based activities that cannot be attributed to a single provider. This will be phased in over three years, commencing at 20 per cent of the cost of delivery from 1 January 2022, increased to 50 per cent of cost on 1 January 2023 and then 100 per cent on 1 January 2024).

More information about this is detailed in the consultation paper.

When will the proposed model take effect?

As outlined in the consultation paper, TEQSA will introduce the new fees and charges model from 1 January 2022.

The Australian Government has confirmed there will be a three-year transition period, with the new model being in fully in place by 1 January 2024.

The Government also announced TEQSA’s new cost recovery model will include reductions to course accreditation fees for providers with less than 5,000 enrolled students (equivalent full-time student load) to support innovation and market responsiveness in course design.

Will TEQSA waive fees and charges from providers who are experience financial distress due to COVID?

Any registered providers experiencing financial distress due to COVID or any other reason should contact their TEQSA case manager.

My institution is undergoing re-registration in late 2021 and it will likely not be completed by TEQSA this year. Will we have to pay for work that takes place in 2022?

TEQSA will re-commence charging regulatory fees from 1 January 2022. In accordance with the implementation of the increased cost-recovery arrangements, any TEQSA work on re-registrations or other regulatory activities will be subject to fees. These fees will be communicated to the sector in late 2021, once the agency’s final cost recovery model has been confirmed.

If I lodge my application for an initial registration before 31 December 2021, will I have to pay to the fees outlined in the document?

TEQSA will re-commence charging regulatory fees from 1 January 2022. In accordance with the implementation of the increased cost-recovery arrangements, any TEQSA work on an initial registration or other regulatory activities will be subject to fees. These fees will be communicated to the sector in late 2021, once the agency’s final cost recovery model has been confirmed.

What are the proposed transition arrangements for compliance investigations? If the investigation starts in 2021 but continues into 2022, under what charging model will TEQSA operate?

TEQSA will re-commence charging regulatory fees from 1 January 2022. In accordance with the implementation of the increased cost-recovery arrangements, any TEQSA work on compliance assessments or other regulatory activities will be subject to fees. These fees will be communicated to the sector in late 2021, once the agency’s final cost recovery model has been confirmed.

Can providers speak to someone at TEQSA about this proposal in relation to their specific circumstances?

Registered providers wishing to discuss this proposal in relation to their operations should contact their case manager. 

When will TEQSA release the final fees and charges model?

At the conclusion of the consultation period, TEQSA will review all feedback received and consider how the proposal might be adapted to best support the transition to full cost recovery.

TEQSA will then seek the final approval of the Minister before releasing the approved model to the sector later in 2021 ahead of the planned 1 January 2022 commencement.