Season’s Greetings from IHEA

As we approach the end of another busy year, we would like to extend our warmest wishes to you and express our heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support. IHEA had a remarkable year, and we could not have represented our sector so effectively without you. We eagerly anticipate the opportunities and challenges 2024 will bring and look forward to rising to them together.

2023 Highlights

This past year witnessed a series of notable milestones for IHEA through our strong advocacy for independent higher education.

In a period of major review and rapid policy change, we made twenty-seven submissions and appeared before Parliamentary Committees. IHEA’s access to senior politicians and public servants has enabled results driven collaboration with its board and secretariat. Recent outcomes include participation in the Australian Universities Accord Ministerial Reference Group; concessions on the implementation of the Support for Students Policy, including equity across the sector and moratorium on compliance; the simplification and increased transparency on the genuine student test; and revision of and improvements to the QILT survey, to highlight a few.

Our relationship with Tony Cook, the newly appointed Secretary of Department of Education (DoE), continues to thrive, and we now have regular meetings with his successor as Deputy Secretary (Higher Education), Ben Rimmer. All this positions IHEA as an influential partner in the development of higher education policy.

Our participation in the Accord process allowed us to play an active role in shaping the future of higher education in Australia, including an opportunity for IHEA Chair to represent our position at the annual TEQSA conference. We also joined ministerial delegations to India and China, further contributing to broad awareness and understanding of independent higher education’s role in Australia.

We exist to advocate for, support, and service our membership, and are genuinely proud of our members. Our membership has grown significantly, and we welcomed nine new members to our community. Our members educate around 74 per cent of all students taught by the entire independent higher education sector. This scale gives us authority and legitimacy to speak on behalf of the sector. We publish our membership list widely and provide this list with each submission we make.

We unveiled the IHEA Member's Guidebook and are engaging with distributors, including Study NSW and Global Victoria, as well as career counselling organisations throughout the country. The Guidebook highlights the vast array of outstanding opportunities that students can access within the independent higher education sector.

We also worked constructively to reach an agreement with Copyright Agency on the new rate card and the Statutory Education Licence for the independent higher education sector which now delivers much better value for our members.

Other member services like library access continued strongly, and we grew membership of OneHE professional development and My eQuals digital credentials platform. Finally, our member networks continued to meet and provide a forum for member collaboration and have been expanded to include the new Teaching and Learning network, as well as the Student Wellbeing and Safety Community of Practice.

This year, we elevated the visibility and understanding of the independent sector's unique value. Decision-makers now consider the whole higher education sector when thinking about reform, a testament to our collective efforts.

Operationally, we opened our Canberra office and welcomed our new Policy and Research lead, Dr James Hart, who joined us from the DoE. Both developments significantly enhance our capacity to understand, anticipate, and influence the policy landscape.

This year we also bid farewell to Alan Finch, our hardworking Chair since 2019 and a valued part of our Board for many years. His contributions will always be remembered as we continue to build on the solid foundation he helped lay.

Looking Forward

As remarkable as 2023 was, we anticipate 2024 to be even more productive. With the Government responding to the Accord Final Report, the future is uncertain.

But rest assured, at IHEA, our commitment to representing you and meeting the challenges you face remains strong.

IHEA Office Closure – Holiday Period and New Year

The IHEA office will close over the break from Friday 22 December and re-open Tuesday 2 January 2024. During that time, member support remains available. For any assistance, please contact us via email.

On behalf of the IHEA team, we wish you, your families, and colleagues a joyous festive season and a prosperous New Year. We look forward to collaborating with you in the exciting times ahead.

Dr David Perry Dr Peter Hendy
IHEA Chair

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