Recent or Upcoming Structural Changes or Reforms

Drivers for change:

  • The rapid expansion in student numbers over the last 25 years, particularly the rapid expansion in Commonwealth Supported Places since 2009, has meant that the Australian government faces ongoing pressure to meet the rising cost of Australians’ higher education aspirations1
  • Universities feel the need to continue to invest additional resources to deliver truly world-beating education offerings. In its 2016 Policy Statement, Keep it Clever, Universities Australia noted that universities are central to fostering the innovation needed to build new industries that will enhance national income, health, and the environment
  • The Australian business community is demanding high level skills from graduates and innovation from universities. The Business Council of Australia in its report Action Plan for Enduring Prosperity highlights the need for more specialised course offerings, and more flexibility for universities to innovate and improve the higher education system.
  • Australia’s higher education policies have been extensively reviewed over recent years, and combined with drivers for change in higher education, will inform changes in the future, some of which are outlined in Driving Innovation, Fairness and Excellence in Australian Higher Education.1
  • Vocational education and training (VET) providers moving into higher education
  • New national standards for higher education in Australia Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015 (new HES Framework) which apply from 1 January 2017
  • Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 recently revised to strengthen and streamline the legislative framework for overseas students.


1Driving Innovation, Fairness and Excellence in Australian Higher Education, May 2016, Australian Government