Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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Standards/Other as made
This instrument defines new Threshold Standards. The Threshold Standards are established by paragraph 58(1)(a) of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 and set the requirements that a higher education provider must meet, and continue to meet, in order to be registered by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) to operate in Australia. They provide the basis for the regulation of Australian higher education providers by TEQSA.
Administered by: Education, Skills and Employment
Registered 27 Apr 2021
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR11-May-2021
Tabled Senate11-May-2021

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

 

Issued by the authority of The Hon Alan Tudge MP, Minister for Education and Youth

 

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011

 

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021

 

AUTHORITY

 

Subsection 58(1) of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (the TEQSA Act) provides that the Minister may, by legislative instrument, make standards that comprise the Higher Education Standards Framework.

 

The framework is made up of:

·      Threshold Standards made under paragraph 58(1)(a) of the TEQSA Act; and

·      any other standards made under paragraph 58(1)(b) of the TEQSA Act.

 

Subsection 58(3) of the TEQSA Act requires that the Minister must not make a standard unless:

 

·      a draft of the standard has been developed by the Higher Education Standards Panel established under Part 9 of the TEQSA Act (the Panel);

·      the Minister has consulted with each of the following about the draft:

o   the Council consisting of the Ministers for the Commonwealth and each State and Territory responsible for higher education (known as the Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment);

o   the Research Minister (the minister responsible for the Australian Research Council Act 2001); and

o   Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

Subsection 58(4) provides that before the Minister makes a standard, the Minister must have regard to the draft developed by the Panel, and any advice or recommendations received from the Panel or those other parties.

 

The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 (Instrument) replaces the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 (2015 Standards).

 

PURPOSE AND OPERATION

 

The purpose of the Instrument is to define new Threshold Standards. The Threshold Standards are established by subsection 58(1)(a) of the TEQSA Act and set the requirements that a higher education provider must meet, and continue to meet, in order to be registered by TEQSA to operate in Australia. They provide the basis for the regulation of Australian higher education providers by TEQSA. The Threshold Standards ensure that the barrier to entry into the higher education sector is set sufficiently high to underpin and protect the quality and reputation of the sector as a whole. They also establish a solid basis of operational quality and integrity from which all providers can continue to build excellence and diversity.

 

The Threshold Standards also serve other broader purposes in Australian higher education including:

·      an articulation of the expectations for provision of higher education in Australia as:

-     a guide to the quality of educational experiences that students should expect

-     a reference for international comparisons of the provision of higher education

-     a reference for other interested parties; and

·      a model framework which higher education providers can themselves apply for the internal monitoring, quality assurance and quality improvement of their higher education activities.

 

ROLE OF THE THRESHOLD STANDARDS FOR STUDENTS

 

Protection of the quality of the educational experience of students is of prime importance among the objects of the TEQSA Act and is central to the Threshold Standards. The Threshold Standards inform students and other interested parties of the expectations on higher education providers regarding the delivery of higher education in, or from, Australia. The Threshold Standards also enable and support prospective and enrolled students to make informed choices through specific requirements for the provision of comprehensive, timely, accurate and publicly available information about a higher education provider’s offerings and operations.

 

STRUCTURE OF THE THRESHOLD STANDARDS

 

Schedule 1 of the Instrument contains the Threshold Standards. These consist of two parts:

 

Part A: Standards for Higher Education

This part sets out the minimum acceptable requirements for the provision of higher education in, or from, Australia by higher education providers registered under the TEQSA Act.

 

The Standards for Higher Education are organised into seven ‘Domains’:

 

1.       Student Participation and Attainment

2.       Learning Environment

3.       Teaching

4.       Research and Research Training

5.       Institutional Quality Assurance

6.       Governance and Accountability

7.       Representation, Information and Information Management

 

Part B: Criteria for Higher Education Providers

This part sets out the criteria that enable a provider to be registered in each of the four provider categories and whether a provider is able to self-accredit some or all of the courses of study it delivers.

 

Part B contains:

 

B1    Criteria for Higher Education Provider Categories

B2    Criteria for Seeking Self-Accrediting Authority

B3    Transitional Standards

 

Each ‘Domain’ of Part A is segmented into ‘Sections’ and these sections in turn contain a number of ‘Standards Statements’. Similarly in Part B, each provider category in sections B1, B2 and B3 contain two or more ‘Standards Statements.’ These statements are the actual ‘Standards’; the headings of the domains, sections and provider categories are only to assist in navigating the document.

 

Education-related elements of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (made under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000) have been incorporated into the text of the Threshold Standards.

 

THE NEED FOR NEW THRESHOLD STANDARDS

 

The need for new Threshold Standards arises from two sources:

·      The review report What’s in a Name: Review of the Higher Education Provider Category Standards completed in 2019 by Emeritus Professor Peter Coaldrake AO (PCS Review – available at https://www.dese.gov.au/quality-and-legislative-frameworks/review-higher-education-provider-category-standards), recommended substantial reforms to the categorisation of higher education providers. The Australian Government accepted the intent of all ten recommendations in the report. The new provider categories recommended in the report form the basis of Part B of Schedule 1 of the Instrument.

·      An outstanding recommendation from the 2017 Review of the impact of the TEQSA Act on the higher education sector, by Deloitte Access Economics (available at https://www.dese.gov.au/uncategorised/resources/review-impact-teqsa-act-final-report), proposed reframing references to the Threshold Standards in the TEQSA Act as a single unified framework, instead of four distinct types of Threshold Standards. These amendments, which Deloitte proposed be deferred until completion of the PCS Review, were made by item 2 of Schedule 1, Part 1 of the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Provider Category Standards and Other Measures) Act 2021 (PCS Act). The amendments will come into effect on the same date as the Instrument and enable the structure of the Threshold Standards to be simplified, making it clearer to read and use. The amendments are such that the 2015 Standards are automatically repealed from the commencement date, requiring new Threshold Standards to be made.

 

Minor amendments have been made to Part A of the Threshold Standards to respond to advice of the Panel regarding the awarding of academic credit and recognition of prior learning, in the wake of the 2019 Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework (available at https://www.dese.gov.au/reviews-and-consultations/australian-qualifications-framework-review).

 

REGULATORY IMPACT

 

Consistent with the Government’s Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) requirements, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment certified that the PCS Review report represents a process and analysis equivalent to a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS). The Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) does not assess the quality of independent reviews, but has assessed the PCS Review for relevance to the recommended options (OBPR ID number 42777).

 

COMMENCEMENT

 

Item 2 of the Instrument specifies that the Threshold Standards take effect on the same day that Schedule 1, Part 1 of the PCS Act commences. This date is to be set by proclamation as 1 July 2021.

 

AVAILABILITY OF MERITS REVIEW

 

The Instrument sets standards that higher education providers must satisfy in order to maintain their registration and does not create any decision-making powers. However, these standards are used by TEQSA as the basis for a range of decisions that are subject to merits review. The Administrative Review Council has recognised that merits review is the process by which a person or body (other than the primary decision-maker), reconsiders the facts, law and policy aspects of the original decision and determines what is the correct and preferable decision (see sections 1.1 of the guidance document What decisions should be subject to merit review? Available at https://www.ag.gov.au/legal-system/administrative-law/administrative-review-council-publications/what-decisions-should-be-subject-merit-review-1999). As the Instrument does not create any decision-making powers, there is no original decision available to be reviewed. Therefore, merits review is not applicable in relation to these standards themselves. Reviewable decisions of TEQSA are listed at Section 183 of the TEQSA Act. 

 

CONSULTATION

 

Amendments to the 2015 Standards that are reflected in the 2021 Threshold Standards have been the subject of significant stakeholder consultation over the period 2018 to 2021.

 

The 2017‒18 Budget included a measure to undertake a review of the Higher Education Provider Category Standards. The PCS Review considered whether the existing higher education provider categories, which form Part B of the Threshold Standards, were fit for purpose to support a diverse and high quality higher education sector that meets the needs of students, employers, higher education providers and the wider community.

 

The existing provider categories were unchanged from the initial 2011 Higher Education Standards Framework and based on pre-existing National Protocols that had been in place for many years. The provider category standards were not included in the review of the initial framework that was undertaken over three years from 2012-2014 by the inaugural Panel. The PCS Review, then, completed the review of the entirety of the Threshold Standards that was anticipated with the establishment of both the TEQSA Act and TEQSA.

 

The PCS Review process included multi-layered stakeholder engagement, including a discussion paper and call for public submissions, extensive national consultations in most capital cities to ensure stakeholders had the opportunity to contribute, as well as targeted dialogue with higher education peak bodies and other key sector stakeholders.

 

Key recommendations of the PCS Review were to:

·         reduce the number of provider categories from six to four to remove unused or underused categories and to provide a new category for non-university providers with a track record of high quality student outcomes, through:

o   reduction of the current five university categories to two

o   expanding the non-university categories from one to two;

·         include an entry pathway and separate criteria for new, or ‘greenfield’ entrants aspiring to be universities;

·         set new research quality standards for universities; and

·         simplify the standards required to be awarded self-accrediting authority.

 

Section 58 of the TEQSA Act establishes specific requirements before the Minister responsible for higher education can make new standards for higher education. The Minister may only make and vary the standards for higher education if a draft has been developed by the Panel and the Minister has sought and considered comments on the draft from both TEQSA and the Council of Commonwealth, state and territory ministers responsible for higher education.

 

Following release of the PCS Review, the then responsible Minister requested the Panel draft amendments to the Threshold Standards to implement the review’s recommendations. In developing its draft, the Panel held stakeholder forums in December 2019 and February 2020, released a consultation paper seeking stakeholder comment on draft amendments, and held meetings with the major peak bodies representing non-university higher education providers.

 

Following receipt of the Panel’s advice and draft amendments, the Minister sought comment from both TEQSA and State and Territory Education Ministers and has taken account of their views in drafting the Instrument.

 


 

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021

 

The Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 (Instrument) is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

Overview of the Instrument

 

Schedule 1 of the Instrument defines the Threshold Standards for the purposes of Section 58(1)(a) of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (the TEQSA Act).

 

The new Threshold Standards give effect to:

·         the Commonwealth Government’s decision to implement the recommendations arising from the 2019 Review of the Higher Education Provider Category Standards;

·         an outstanding recommendation from the 2017 Review of the impact of the TEQSA Act on the higher education sector, to refer to the Threshold Standards as a single unified framework; and

·         the Higher Education Standards Panel’s advice regarding the awarding of academic credit and recognition of prior learning, in the wake of the 2019 Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework.

 

The Threshold Standards are comprised of two parts:

 

Part A: Standards for Higher Education

This part sets out the minimum acceptable requirements for the provision of higher education in, or from, Australia by higher education providers registered under the TEQSA Act.

 

The Standards for Higher Education are organised into seven ‘Domains’:

 

1.       Student Participation and Attainment

2.       Learning Environment

3.       Teaching

4.       Research and Research Training

5.       Institutional Quality Assurance

6.       Governance and Accountability

7.       Representation, Information and Information Management

 

Part B: Criteria for Higher Education Providers

This part sets out the criteria that enable a provider to be registered in each of the four provider categories and whether a provider is able to self-accredit some or all of the courses of study it delivers.

 

Part B contains:

 

B1    Criteria for Higher Education Provider Categories

B2    Criteria for Seeking Self-Accrediting Authority

B3    Transitional Standards

 

Human rights implications

 

Right to work and right to just and favourable conditions of work

 

The Instrument engages the right to work and rights at work contained in articles 6(1) and 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Culture Rights (ICESCR). Article 6(1) recognises the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain their living by work which they freely choose or accept, and that states will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right. Article 7 recognises the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work, including fair wages, safe and healthy working conditions and equal opportunity for advancement.

 

The Higher Education Standards Framework requires higher education providers to offer learning and research environments that are safe, ethical and promote student wellbeing, and that require providers to have corporate and academic governance structures and policies that ensure the academic and operational integrity of its activities.

 

The Higher Education Standards Framework requires all providers to support academic and teaching staff to be active in scholarship that informs their teaching and active in research when engaged in research student supervision. It requires providers in the University College and Australian University categories to demonstrate systematic support for scholarship, demonstrate scholarly activities and outcomes that inform teaching, learning and professional practice.

 

Right to Education

 

The Instrument also engages the right to education which is set out in Article 13 of the ICESCR. The right to education recognises the important personal, societal, economic and intellectual benefits of education. It requires that education be available, safe, and appropriately resourced, dependent on the needs of the child.

 

The Threshold Standards help to ensure that the highest standards of quality will be upheld in the provision of higher education in Australia. They enable the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), as the independent higher education regulator, and higher education providers themselves through their corporate and academic governance bodies, to give assurance of a high quality learning experience, learning outcomes that are relevant to employment and professional practice, and learning that is tailored to the needs of students with different characteristics and learning needs. They ensure students and provider staff have the resources and supports in place to maximise students’ opportunity to learn and graduate with the skills and knowledge they need for future careers and further learning.

 

The Threshold Standards enable efficient and targeted activity by TEQSA which will ensure that higher education institutions have time and resources to devote to doing what they do best – delivering the highest quality teaching, learning and research. This will benefit both Australian and international students as well as the broader Australian community and economy.

 

Changes to the 2015 Threshold Standards that are reflected in the Instrument simplify and streamline the categories of higher education provider, and more clearly articulate the requirements to be categorised as a particular type of higher education provider. This will help to ensure a diverse and high-quality higher education sector that meets the needs of students, employers, higher education providers and the wider community.

 

Conclusion

 

This Instrument is compatible with human rights because it promotes the protection of human rights.

 

The Instrument promotes the right to work through requiring safe, ethical learning and research environments, and requiring higher education providers to support academic and teaching staff to be active in scholarship.

 

The Instrument supports and enhances the right to education by improving TEQSA’s regulatory capabilities through Threshold Standards that are more reflective of the current and future needs of the higher education sector. This will allow TEQSA to specify matters in relation to new research quality benchmarks for providers in the ‘Australian University’ category, and improve the regulatory and governance arrangements of Australia’s tertiary education system by simplifying and consolidating higher education provider categories.

 

 

Minister for Education and Youth, the Hon Alan Tudge MP

 


HIGHER EDUCATION STANDARDS FRAMEWORK (THRESHOLD STANDARDS) 2021

 

EXPLANATION OF PROVISIONS

 

Section 1: Name

 

1.       This section states the name of the instrument, the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 (the Instrument).

Section 2: Commencement

2.       This section provides that the Instrument commences on the same day that Schedule 1, Part 1 of the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Provider Category Standards and Other Measures) Act 2021 (the PCS Act) commences. This ensures that both the Instrument, and the part of the PCS Act that contains enabling amendments to legislation that support the operation of the Instrument, will come into effect simultaneously.

3.       This date is to be set by proclamation as 1 July 2021.

Section 3: Authority

4.       This section states that the Instrument is made under subsection 58(1) of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (the TEQSA Act).

Section 4: The Higher Education Standards Framework

5.       This section provides that the Higher Education Standards Framework (the Framework) is established by section 58 of the TEQSA Act. It explains that the Framework is comprised of the Threshold Standards made under paragraph 58(1)(a) of the TEQSA Act and any other standards made under paragraph 58(1)(b) of the TEQSA Act.

Section 5: Effect of this Instrument

6.       This section specifies that the Threshold Standards against which the quality of education can be assessed for the purposes of subsection 58(1)(a) of the TEQSA Act are set out in Schedule 1 of the Instrument.

Section 6: Provider categories

7.       This section specifies that, for the purposes of the definition of provider category in section 5 of the TEQSA Act, the provider categories listed are:

(a)    Institute of Higher Education;

(b)   University College;

(c)    Australian University; and

(d)   Overseas University.

 

Schedule 1:

 

Schedule 1 sets out the Threshold Standards in two parts:

·         Part A: Standards for Higher Education

·         Part B: Criteria for Higher Education Providers

 

Schedule 1 also provides definitions for terms used in the Threshold Standards, including TEQSA Act, Higher Education Qualification, Australian Higher Education Qualification and Overseas Higher Education Qualification.

 

Part A: Standards for Higher Education

 

Note: With the exception of minor amendments to standards 1.2.1, 1.2.2 and 7.3.2, Part A is unchanged from the 2015 Threshold Standards.

 

Domain 1: Student Participation and Attainment

·      Section 1.1 – Admission – covers the requirements that must be met by providers when admitting students, information that must be provided to students regarding a particular course of study before they enrol, ensuring admission policies are fairly and consistently applied, and that admission arrangements are in writing, including any requirements that are specific to the course.

·      Section 1.2 – Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning – requires credit transfer (advanced standing) and recognition of prior learning (RPL) to be policy based to ensure the integrity of courses and qualifications.

o   Amendments to standards 1.2.1 and 1.2.2 reinforce that these standards are intended to reflect the credit and RPL policy in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

·      Section 1.3 – Orientation and Progression – outlines the requirements for orientation and progression to ensure students are successfully transitioned into institutions and that special needs are met for individual students.

·      Section 1.4 – Learning Outcomes and Assessment – requires that learning outcomes are specified and assessment is consistent with the requirements of the learning outcomes.

·      Section 1.5 – Qualifications and Certification – lists the requirements for qualifications and certification which are fundamentally based on the AQF.

Domain 2: Learning Environment

·      Section 2.1 – Facilities and Infrastructure – identifies the requirements for teaching and learning facilities and infrastructure, including information technology, to ensure facilities are fit for purpose.

·      Section 2.2 – Diversity and Equity – requires policies and processes to accommodate and promote diversity and equity among student populations, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, be in place and actively monitored.

·      Section 2.3 – Wellbeing and Safety – identifies the need for, and imposes requirements in respect of, a safe environment and the availability of appropriate support services to promote student wellbeing.

·      Section 2.4 – Student Grievances and Complaints – lists the requirements for student grievance and complaints in the instance of dissatisfaction with institutional or learning experiences.

Domain 3: Teaching

·      Section 3.1 – Course Design – identifies course design specifications, learning activities and content requirements, consistent with the level of study, and the need for professional accreditation of courses, where this is required, in order for graduates to be eligible to practise.

·      Section 3.2 – Staffing – sets out requirements for the availability, skills and knowledge of teaching staff.

·      Section 3.3 – Learning Resources and Educational Support – outlines the need for appropriate educational support mechanisms, as well as adequate physical resources and infrastructure that are fit for purpose.

Domain 4: Research and Research Training

·      Section 4.1 – Research – covers resources, ethics, supervision and record keeping needed for the conduct of research activity.

·      Section 4.2 – Research Training – specifies the need to appropriately support research students, including through induction and adequate supervision.

Domain 5: Institutional Quality Assurance

·      Section 5.1 – Course Approval and Accreditation – covers internal mechanisms to assure quality such as policies for course approvals, accreditation and delivery.

·      Section 5.2 – Academic and Research Integrity – requires that policies are in place to deal with misconduct including cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation and misuse of intellectual property, and that these policies are actively administered to ensure the integrity of academic and research activity.

·      Section 5.3 – Monitoring, Review and Improvement – requires that the quality of education offerings be continuously monitored and reviewed to maintain and enhance their quality and effectiveness, including a comprehensive review of each course of study at least every seven years.

·      Section 5.4 – Delivery with Other Parties – identifies that the delivery of education by a third party must be quality assured and that the higher education provider remains accountable for the quality of all education delivered through third parties.

Domain 6: Governance and Accountability

·      Section 6.1 – Corporate Governance – requires the entity to have a formally constituted governing body that includes independent members and sets out functions and obligations of the governing body.

·      Section 6.2 – Corporate Monitoring and Accountability – requires the provider to demonstrate, and the corporate governing body to assure themselves, that the provider is operating effectively and sustainably, including in the areas of ongoing financial viability and risk management, having in place credible business plans and a strong compliance regime.

·      Section 6.3 – Academic Governance – requires the entity to have processes and structures established, and responsibilities assigned in relation to, academic oversight to assure the quality of teaching, learning, research and research training.

Domain 7: Representation, Information and Information Management

·      Section 7.1 – Representation – obliges a provider to represent itself accurately and in a manner that is not misleading, and to assure all agency arrangements through the use of formal contracts.

·      Section 7.2 – Information for Prospective and Current Students – sets out the types of information that must be available to prospective and enrolled students to support informed decision making about the provider’s higher education offerings.

·      Section 7.3 – Information Management – specifies a range of information about the higher education provider that must be available to the general public, and the need for accurate and up-to-date record keeping.

o   New item (g) in Standard 7.3.2 ensures that information about the provider’s credit and recognition of prior learning policy, and any articulation or credit arrangements applicable to each course of study, is readily and publicly accessible.

Part B: Criteria for Higher Education Providers

 

Note: The standards in Part B are completely rewritten, compared to the 2015 Threshold Standards.

 

Part B1: Criteria for Higher Education Provider Categories

·      Part B1 sets out the criteria for each of the four higher education provider categories listed in section 6 of the Instrument.

·      B1 explains that all providers of higher education must meet the requirements of Part A and satisfy the requirements set out under the ‘Institute of Higher Education’ category in order to gain registration by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). It further explains that Higher education providers may seek approval within a particular provider category under subsection 18(1) (applying for registration) or section 38 (change of category) of the TEQSA Act, and states that the provider category of each higher education provider will be included on the National Register of Higher Education Providers (administered by TEQSA).

Institute of Higher Education

·      B1.1 sets out the requirements that a higher education provider must meet to be registered in the Institute of Higher Education category.

University College

·      B1.2 sets out the requirements that a higher education provider registered in the University College category must meet.

·      A note explains that providers registered in this category do not need to adopt the ‘University College’ branding if the name does not suit their mission or purpose.

·      There are two pathways into the University College category – as either:

o   an existing provider with a track record of high quality delivery and authorisation to self-accredit at least 70 per cent of its courses of study (Standards B1.2.1-12 apply to this pathway); or

o   a new provider (greenfield) entity that demonstrates the capacity, resources and credible plans to satisfy the Australian University category criteria within five years of commencing teaching (Standards B1.2.13-18 apply to this pathway).

·      Standards B1.2.1-12 set out the requirements to enter the category as a high quality existing provider or remain in the category on an ongoing basis.

·      Standards B1.2.13-18 set out the criteria required to establish a new, or ‘greenfield’, provider entity as a University College.

·      A note explains that where a newly established higher education provider can already demonstrate that it meets all of the requirements of the ‘Australian University’ category, including mature development and a track record of compliance, TEQSA may consider approving direct entry of the new entity to the ‘Australian University’ category if it is satisfied that the corporate and academic governance arrangements established for the new entity will ensure continued compliance and performance to the required standard for that category. It is expected this could only occur in very limited circumstances – for example if a large existing university were separated into two smaller universities that could demonstrate appropriate levels of corporate and academic governance and quality assurance.

Australian University

·      B1.3 sets out the requirements that a higher education provider must meet to be registered in the Australian University category.

·      B1.3 explains that, where an ‘Australian University’ has self-accrediting authority in only one or two broad (2-digit) fields of education, it is deemed to have a specialised focus. It further explains that, where an ‘Australian University’ with a specialised focus delivers courses of study in new broad (2‑digit) field/s of education, the provider must be successful in seeking authorisation to self-accredit courses of study in the new field/s within 10 years from the commencement of those courses of study.

·      A note explains that, upon achieving self-accrediting authority in at least three broad (2-digit) fields of education for which Doctoral Degrees (Research) are also delivered, the ‘Australian University’ is no longer deemed to have a specialised focus.

·      B1.3 also states that undertaking of research that leads to new knowledge and original creative endeavour and research training are fundamental to the status of a higher education provider as an ‘Australian University’.

·      A note explains that when assessing the research requirements in criteria B1.3.16-19, TEQSA may specify the matters to be considered in a legislative instrument. TEQSA will use existing national research benchmarking exercises where they are applicable. Where they are not applicable, TEQSA will benchmark against standard research indicators.

·      B1.3 then sets out the standards for research that an Australian University must satisfy.

Overseas University

·      B1.4 sets out the requirements that a higher education provider registered in the Overseas University category must meet.

Part B2: Criteria for Seeking Self-Accrediting Authority

·      Part B2 explains that providers can apply to TEQSA for limited or unlimited self-accrediting authority. It then sets out requirements that a provider must demonstrate it has satisfied for TEQSA to consider granting self-accrediting authority.

Part B3: Transitional Standards

·      Part B3 sets out standards that apply only to providers that were already registered at the time the Instrument takes effect.

·      Part B3.1 explains that TEQSA will determine the appropriate provider category for each registered provider to transition to on commencement of this Instrument.

·      Part B3.2 sets transitional research standards for providers in the Australian University provider category. It explains that a provider that is registered in the ‘Australian University’ category after this Instrument comes into force, and, immediately before the commencement date was in a provider registration category that permitted use of the word ‘university’, must achieve the benchmarks set out B1.3 within particular time frames.