Before applying to become a higher education provider

The Australian Government’s COVID-19 pandemic higher education relief package included TEQSA application fee waivers. As a result, during late 2021 and into 2022, TEQSA received an unprecedented number of applications for registration and applications for course accreditation and renewals. This is likely to lead to extended application processing times into 2023.

TEQSA has noted an increase in the number of applications that include evidence that is incomplete or contains errors. TEQSA will inform a provider if an application submitted to TEQSA is not valid (in terms of not meeting the requirements set out in the relevant legislation) and inform the provider if a new application needs to be made. The timelines for application processing do not commence, and fees will not be incurred by the provider, until a valid application is made.

Applicants should carefully consider whether they meet the following fundamental requirements for registration before applying to become a higher education provider. Applicants should consult with TEQSA before applying to ensure they understand the evidence they will need to submit.

This guidance is intended to be used by applicants to ensure that some of the major shortcomings that commonly arise in applications for registration have been addressed. It is not a summary or restatement of all relevant criteria, standards or matters that we will consider in assessing an application for registration.

Before applying for registration as a higher education provider, applicants should ensure that they are able to demonstrate that:

  1. They are an entity listed under the definition of regulated entity in Section 5 of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act).
  2. They have a clearly articulated higher education purpose that includes a commitment to freedom of speech and academic freedom – Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 (HES Framework 2021), Standard B1.1.1.
  3. They have a formally constituted and accountable governing body, which includes independent members that exercise competent governance oversight of all of its proposed higher education operations in or from Australia – HES Framework 2021, Part A, Standard 6.1.1.
  4. Members of its governing body are fit and proper persons – HES Framework 2021, Part A, Standard 6.1.2.
  5. Members of its governing body meet the Australian residency requirements (if any) of the instrument under which the applicant is established or incorporated, or otherwise there are at least two members of the governing body who are residents of Australia – HES Framework 2021, Part A, Standard 6.1.2.
  6. Their proposed staffing for each course of study is sufficient to meet the educational, academic support and administrative needs of students undertaking the course. This includes oversight by academic leaders with sufficient experience to develop a higher education learning environment – HES Framework 2021, Part A, Standard 3.2.1.
  7. They can operate effectively and sustainably and in compliance with all relevant legislative requirements and their constitution or equivalent – HES Framework 2021, Part A, Standard 6.2.1.
  8. Their application for registration is in the approved form, accompanied by any information, documents and assistance requested (including a concurrent application for accreditation of at least one higher education course and all other information specified in the relevant application guide) as well as the relevant fee – Section 18(3) of the TEQSA Act.
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