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English language and support services protecting international students

24 January 2019

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has moved to defend English language standards of international students, stressing the strong English language and academic preparation requirements in place.

In addition to strong English language requirements, higher education providers are also required to offer support services that are informed by the needs of their student cohorts.

TEQSA chief executive Anthony McClaran said that ensuring the preparedness of international students to undertake their studies, as well as their wellbeing, is a key focus of TEQSA and the standards the Agency administers.

“Standard 1.1 of the Higher Education Standards Framework calls for higher education providers to ensure that students admitted have the English proficiency needed to participate in their intended study”, said Mr McClaran.

“TEQSA expects that all students are given every opportunity to succeed in their studies and proficiency in English is a vital factor for international students.

“Higher education providers are also required to have measures in place to identify students who are struggling with their studies, and subsequent support services to help them succeed.”

Data sourced from the Department of Education and Training’s Selected Higher Education Statistics shows the international student cohort to have significantly lower attrition rates than their domestic counterparts (9.91 per cent vs 15.64 per cent)

The same data also shows that international student success rates are higher than their domestic equivalents (86.33 per cent vs 83.74 per cent). 

TEQSA monitors higher education providers’ (including universities’) operations though a risk assessment process, which analyses provider’s student load, student experience and outcomes.

Any issues raised during these risk assessments are discussed with the provider to ensure relevant controls are in place and any identified risk to students is controlled. 

International students are also protected by requirements of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students, which provides nationally consistent standards and procedures. TEQSA is responsible for monitoring registered higher education provider's compliance with the National Code.

More information


    Media enquiries

    Raphael May, Assistant Director, Communications: raphael.may [at] teqsa.gov.au, 0437 143 012 or (03) 8306 2536