IHEA Submission on Consultation Paper on ‘Support for Students Policy’ Requirements

Independent Higher Education Australia (IHEA) provided a submission in response to the Federal Government’s proposed policy approach to the Higher Education Provider Guidelines, as set out in the 'Support for Students Policy Consultation Paper'.

The Australian Universities Accord Interim Report, released on 19 July 2023, contains five recommendations for priority action.

Priority Action 2 is the removal of the pass rate requirements, which applied for independent higher education providers from 1 January 2018, and for public universities from 1 January 2022 and required students to pass 50 per cent of their units of study in their course to maintain access to Commonwealth assistance.

Legislation to remove the pass rate requirements is currently before Parliament.

Subject to its passage, accountability and reporting requirements for higher education providers will change to comply with the Support for Students Policy.

The aim of the legislation is to ensure that students at risk of failing their courses are identified, and students, particularly equity students, are properly supported to study successfully.

Specific requirements around what the Support for students policy must include and new reporting requirements for higher education providers will be set out in the Higher Education Provider Guidelines.

Summary of IHEA recommendations:

  1. IHEA supports the legislative changes in principle.
  2. However, we oppose the statutory enactment of a Support for Students Policy as these are already required by TEQSA.
  3. Urge the Minister to work with TEQSA and the Higher Education Standards Panel to use existing regulatory
    mechanisms to ensure compliance with the standards we all support.

Thank you to IHEA members who provided feedback on this submission.

This was submitted on 15 September 2023.

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