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Entry standards remain strong

28 March 2018

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has moved to correct recent inaccurate media reports regarding the use of ATARs as a means of entering higher education, which implied a collapse in entry standards to Australia’s universities.

Recent media coverage of a report by the Mitchell Institute has claimed only around twenty five per cent of students are admitted to universities on the basis of their ATAR – and concluded that entry standards have fallen to an unacceptable level. However, the vast majority of recent school leavers, over eighty per cent, still enter university based on their ATAR scores.

Much of the move from ATARs to other entry requirements is consistent with Australian Government policy goals which have increased the number of Australians with higher education qualifications. Around half of students entering university are not classified as recent secondary education applicants, and often come to their study with a wide variety of previous qualifications and life experiences.

TEQSA CEO Anthony McClaran said that while the type of students entering the sector has changed dramatically over the past 10 years, ensuring their preparedness to undertake their studies has remained a focus of TEQSA and providers.

"The background and life experience of students entering higher education has changed dramatically in the past decade, and as student cohorts alter, so to do their entry pathways", said Mr McClaran.

“While recent school leavers continue to rely heavily on ATAR scores, it is only fitting that prospective students with professional experience in a relevant industry can use this to show their preparedness to enter a course of study”.

TEQSA is currently working with the sector to implement the Australian Government’s admissions transparency measures which aim to present all undergraduate students with consistent and comparable information to guide future study.

This work includes the introduction of increased information regarding ATARs, such as the highest and lowest ATAR to receive an offer in the previous student cohort and the student profile of those admitted to a course. Entry information is also tailored for students who already have VET or other higher education qualifications.

More information

Media enquiries

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