Just as the current COVID -19 situation threatens the sustainability of independent providers in the higher
education sector and the vocational education and training sector, the Australia Government is set to
introduce an onslaught of new fees and charges. The peak body representing the sector, the
Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA) is calling on the 1 July 2020 implementation
date for these new fees and charges to be set back by twelve months.
The fees and charges come in the form of the move of both the higher education sector’s regulator, the
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and t he vocational education and training
sector’s regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), to full -cost recovery from 1 July 2020.
This means that all costs incurred through the regulation of the tertiary education sector by TEQSA and
ASQA must be met by the providers themselves.
“As a nation, we depend on the independent tertiary education sector to provide business with the skilled
workforce it needs. Further, the sector supports those in vocational education and training as they
transition from one career to another. Independent tertiary education providers are facing some real
challenges ; challenges that genuinely threaten the sustainability of many sector participants in the wake
of th e response to the COVID -19 outbreak, so delaying th e introduction of the new TEQSA and ASQA fees
and charges makes sense,” said Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.
Across Australia there are around 135 independent higher education providers and some 3,000
independent vocational education and training providers.
“ITECA has noted that the response by government to the COVID -19 virus outbreak is set to hit providers
hard, particularly those that support international students who are effectively no longer abl e to travel to
Australia due to travel restrictions,” Mr Williams said.
The strength of Australia’s independent tertiary education sector can be found in the many small
providers that have a track -record of offering students and their employer s quality outcomes in niche
disciplines. The government response to the COVID -19 virus outbreak will affect the viability of these
“The independent tertiary education sector includes a large number of small businesses and
not -for -profit pro viders that lack the robust balance sheets and government backing of large public
providers. In this context, the delaying of the introduction of TEQSA and ASQA cost recovery will provide
much needed support for Australia’s independent tertiary education sec tor,” Mr Williams concluded.
Australia’s independent tertiary education sector supports around 10% of the students in higher
education and more than 70% of the students in the vocational education and training sector.