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IHEA is a peak body representing Independent Higher Education providers in Australia.

Our organisation was formed in 2001 – under the name Cophe – the “Council of Private Higher Education”, at a time when more and more students were choosing an independent higher education for a better learning environment and courses more relevant to their career.

Since then, higher education in Australia has changed tremendously:

It is currently Australia’s third largest export, and students come from ever more diverse social economic and educational backgrounds.

Today, there are 120 providers and more than 130.000 students choosing independent higher education. That’s 10% of all enrolments in Australian higher education. And these numbers are continually growing: enrolments at independent providers are increasing at a faster rate than public universities.

Students consistently rank Australia’s Independent Higher Education providers ahead of all others in quality surveys conducted by the Australian government.

The reason independent providers are so attractive to students, is their focus on learner engagement, skill development and employability.

Our members are committed to high teaching quality, with courses that reflect students’ career choices and employers’ requirements. And classes are usually smaller, meaning better student support, and learning environments.

Under our new name, Independent Higher Education Australia, we’ll continue our commitment to higher education and our members – Australia’s best independent providers who deliver world class education and enable today’s learners to be the leaders of tomorrow.

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Simon Finn


Australian Qualifications Framework
Australian Qualifications Framework

The review of the Australian Qualifications Framework is examining whether the current AQF is fit for purpose and if not, what areas need reform to make it a more useful framework for the entire education system. It presents an opportunity for the sector to help to develop a clearer, more coherent and modernised AQF.


Provider Category Review
Provider Category Review

The Provider Category Standards Review is an opportunity to modernise Australia’s provider categories to be responsive and transparent to the needs of students and the community. IHEA’s submission recognises the quality of independent providers; develops opportunities for innovative University Colleges to be targeted at pedagogical excellence and student demand; and preserves the strength of research excellence at the core of a University title.

As IHEA, we will continue to provide valuable support to our members and the sector as a whole.


Get in touch via email: contact@ihea.edu.au