Higher Education Support Act 2003

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The Higher Education Support Act (HESA) 2003 is the key piece of Commonwealth legislation that governs funding for universities in Australia. The Act determines categories of providers eligible for public funding, establishes the basis for providing public funding, codifies the existing aims of universities, and introduces measures to strengthen Australia’s knowledge base.[1]

Higher education providers[edit]

In order to participate in the National Competitive Grants Program, providers must be approved. The Act defines three groups of institutions.

Table A[edit]

Self accrediting bodies, eligible for all funding under the Act:

Table B[edit]

Self accrediting bodies, not eligible for general Commonwealth funded places. They are eligible for Commonwealth research funding and can be allocated national priority student places in fields such as nursing and education.

Table C[edit]

Providers approved by the Minister. These can be a university, an institution established with the powers to approve its own courses, or a provider whose courses have been accredited by the relevant State or Territory authority. They can be allocated national priority student places in fields such as nursing and education.

Job-Ready Graduates Package[edit]

In late 2020, the Morrison Government passed an amendment to the HESA Act; the Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Act 2020. The amendment changed the rates of private and public funding for different disciplines, while adding new Commonwealth Supported Places. The reforms were intended to drive greater enrolment growth in sectors where the Government anticipated greater jobs growth and opportunities, allow greater enrolment growth in regional areas, and add capacity in the system to account for population growth.[2]

Professor in the Practice of Higher Education Policy at ANU, Andrew Norton highlighted three key flaws in the legislation; changes to student contributions won’t change student preferences, the new overall funding rates weaken university incentives, and the new Commonwealth contribution rates actually limit enrolment growth in the priority courses.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "HESA Act 2003". Federal Register of Legislation. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  2. ^ Tehan, The Hon Dan (19 Jun 2020). "Minister for Education Dan Tehan National Press Club address". Ministers' Media Centre. Retrieved 2021-05-25.
  3. ^ Norton, Andrew. "3 flaws in Job-Ready Graduates package will add to the turmoil in Australian higher education". The Conversation. Retrieved 2021-05-25.

External links[edit]