Review of TEQSA decisions

As the regulator of higher education in Australia, TEQSA makes decisions that may affect higher education providers and those who are applying to become a higher education provider.

The following information explains how those affected by a negative TEQSA decision can seek a review of the decision.

It should be read with reference to TEQSA's relevant legislation.

How TEQSA makes decisions

When making a decision TEQSA considers all the relevant evidence about a provider or prospective provider. TEQSA complies with the basic regulatory principles of reflecting risk, proportionate regulation, and regulatory necessity.

Providers or prospective providers will be given an opportunity to comment on a proposed decision to impose a condition that may adversely affect them. The provider can put forward any information that it considers relevant before TEQSA makes a final decision.

Reviewable decisions

Reviewable decisions made under the TEQSA Act include decisions about:

  • applications for registration in a particular provider category
  • applications for course accreditation
  • conditions on a registration or course accreditation
  • renewing a registration or course accreditation
  • removing the authority of a provider to self-accredit one or more courses of study
  • shortening the period of a registration or course accreditation; or
  • cancelling a registration or course accreditation.

Reviewable decisions under the ESOS Act include decisions:

  • that an approved provider should not be registered
  • to impose a condition on a provider’s registration; or
  • that a course at a location should not be added to a provider’s registration.

If a person is dissatisfied with a reviewable decision they may apply for review of that decision.

Options for review

There are three possible options for review:

  • internal review of decisions
  • merits review of decisions made by TEQSA in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT); and/or  
  • judicial review of administrative decisions.

Internal review

If a provider is dissatisfied with a decision made by a delegate of TEQSA, it can apply to TEQSA for internal review of the decision. The application must be:

  • made in the approved form. Application documents are available on the forms and guides page.
  • accompanied by the fee for an internal review application. Fees information is available on the TEQSA fees page
  • made within 30 days of the applicant being informed of the decision, or longer if agreed by TEQSA.

Where an application is made to TEQSA for internal review, the person reconsidering the decision has the authority to affirm, change or revoke the decision. The decision will be considered by:

  • a more senior member of staff than the delegate who made the original decision
  • a TEQSA Commissioner who was not involved in making the original decision; or
  • the Commission.

When undertaking an internal review, TEQSA will review the evidence that led to the original decision and consider any additional information in the context of the provider’s circumstances and the regulatory principles.

TEQSA must make a decision within 90 days after receiving the application for review.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal review

A provider can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) for merits review of:

  • a reviewable decision if the decision was not made by a delegate of the TEQSA Commission; or
  • an internal review decision of TEQSA.

Merits review means the AAT considers the available evidence and determines whether TEQSA’s decision was the correct and preferable decision. For more information about the AAT go to www.aat.gov.au.

Judicial review

Providers can apply to a court for a judicial review of an administrative decision made by TEQSA in certain circumstances.  A judicial review considers whether TEQSA correctly applied the law in making the decision.

The courts will not consider the merits of TEQSA’s decision. A court can consider matters including whether TEQSA:

  • followed proper legal procedures in making the decision, including the rules of natural justice
  • took an irrelevant consideration into account or failed to take a relevant consideration into account
  • applied a rule or policy without proper regard to the merits of the case; and/or
  • did not have evidence to justify its decision. 

Publishing of decisions on the National Register

Public reports of regulatory decisions about providers are published on the National Register of higher education providers. Providers will be given 28 days to comment on a draft public report before TEQSA makes a decision on publication. TEQSA will not, except where there are exceptional circumstances, note a decision on the register, or publish a public report on the National Register until the period for applying for review of the decision has expired, or in cases where a review application is made, until the review is completed.