Provider Information Request FAQs

Purpose

This Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page outlines common questions and answers that providers may have when completing the 2015 Provider Information Request (PIR). This page may be updated to reflect common questions that may also arise during the 2015 PIR lodgement period. 

If you have a query that is not resolved from the information below, please contact TEQSA’s Information Management team (collections@teqsa.gov.au or 03 8306 2545). 

The FAQs focus on four subject areas: Provider, Student, Staff, and Finance.   

Subject areas: 

Provider

Student

Staff

Finance

Provider

Reporting requirements

Q: My institution has only recently been registered by TEQSA as a higher education provider. Am I required to submit any information on behalf of my institution for the PIR?

A: New providers that have been registered with TEQSA in the current year and are in the process of starting higher education operations will generally only be required to provide limited information to TEQSA under the PIR. For example, TEQSA may request current year financial information where the required information has not previously been provided to TEQSA through another process. Depending on the maturity of the provider’s operations, TEQSA may also request some information on current year academic staff. 

Providers that commenced higher education operations in the year preceding the PIR (for the 2015 PIR this means providers that commenced in 2014) will generally be required to submit all data under the PIR. 

Providers in these circumstances are encouraged to confirm arrangements with TEQSA and may be asked to complete a variation form

Q: My institution has only recently been approved to offer FEE-HELP and started reporting student data to the Department of Education’s HEIMS collection during the reference year (2014). Do I need to submit student data to TEQSA as well?

A: While providers that are approved for FEE-HELP are required to report student data to the Department of Education’s HEIMS collection, there is an initial period where the HEIMS collection may not capture the complete reference year. An institution in these circumstances is described by TEQSA in the PIR documentation as ‘in transition’ and would need to report complete 2014 student data to TEQSA. 

To illustrate, consider the following scenario:

  • In this example, the student data reference year in the 2015 PIR is 2014
  • Provider A is approved to offer FEE-HELP in May 2014. Provider A starts reporting to the Department HEIMS collection in June 2014.
  • As Provider A has only submitted partial year student data to HEIMS (June 2014 – December 2014) there will need to be a full year 2014 student data submission to TEQSA. Provider A is considered to be a FEE-HELP provider ‘in transition’ for the purposes of the 2015 PIR.
  • In the future, when the student data reference year moves to 2015 (for example, 2016 PIR), then Provider A would now be considered a FEE-HELP provider. Provider A has now submitted a full year’s student data to HEIMS (1 January 2015-31 December 2015) and will be exempt from any potential 2016 PIR student data elements.

Provider type

Q: Where can I find out if I am a Table A, B, or C Provider?

A: Table A, B and C providers are providers that are listed in the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA). The link to the HESA is located on the Comlaw website at: http://www.comlaw.gov.au/HigherEducationSupport

Student

EFTSL

Q: What is equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL)?

A: EFTSL is a measure of the study load for a year of a student undertaking a course of study on a full-time basis. Total EFTSL for a full-time student in a course in a given year should be 1.0. 

Under the PIR, providers are required to report the EFTSL value based on each unit of study that a student is undertaking and the proportion of EFTSL that this unit contributes to the total course load in a given year. For example, if a full-time course is made up of 8 units, each of which has the same weight (value in the course), then the EFTSL value for each subject will be 0.125. 

To calculate the proportion of EFTSL for a particular unit of study, the provider should calculate the proportion that the unit contributes as a proportion of a full-time study load. The table below provides an example of differing full-time load (as determined by each provider), differing unit values and the EFTSL per unit. 

 

Institution

Full-Time Credit Points

Unit of Study Credit Points

Unit EFTSL (Unit Credit/Full-Time Credit)

A

48

6

0.1250

B

48

12

0.2500

C

96

6

0.0625

D

96

12

0.1250

To calculate and report the EFTSL for a particular student, the provider should sum the EFTSL for all units that the student was enrolled in for the reporting year. 

The table below provides an example of this calculation for a provider that has a full-time load of 48 credit points per year. 

Student ID

Unit of Study Credit Points

Full-Time Credit Points

EFTSL - For Unit

12345

6

48

0.1250

12345

12

0.2500

12345

6

0.1250

12345

6

0.1250

12345

6

0.1250

12345

12

0.2500

Total

48

48

1.0000

Note: a student undertaking a full-time load must have a total EFSTL of 1.0. 

In some cases, a student may be undertaking a number of units in a given year that is over a full-time load. In these cases, the EFTSL may be above 1.0. Typically, this would not be expected to be over 1.5. In exceptional circumstances, where a student is undertaking double a full-time load in a given reporting year, this may be up to 2.0.

Offshore students

Q: Do I have to report students that are studying offshore? I have students enrolled in an overseas partner institution.

A: If offshore students are enrolled in a course of study that leads to your higher education award (regardless of whether the course is delivered by your institution or through collaboration between your institution with a third party), then you need to report data relating to these students to TEQSA. If the overseas partner also offers its own or other award/s, then this student data should not be reported to TEQSA

Staff

FTE

Q: What is Full-Time Equivalence (FTE)?

A: FTE is a measure of the resources for a staff member in respect of their current duties, expressed as a proportion of the resources of a typical full-time staff member. 

A staff member employed at the reference date on a full-time contract (with respect to their current duties) would have a full-time equivalence of 1.00.

The FTE for a member of staff who, at the reference date, has a fractional full-time (i.e. part-time) work contract in respect of their current duties, will be less than 1.00. The fraction will represent the ratio between the number of agreed normal work hours for that person and the number of normal work hours that would be required of a full-time staff member who is of the same classification type and level.

For example, if a person with a part-time work contract has work hours one-third of those of a full-time staff member who is of the same classification type and level, then the FTE-RD for the person would be 0.33. Normal work hours should exclude paid or unpaid overtime work hours. 

Additional Notes

  • The total FTE for a staff member may be reported in fractional parts, each associated with work undertaken on different functions (e.g. ‘Teaching’ and ‘Other’). When reporting this data to TEQSA, this should be reported on separate unit records (rows) of the spreadsheet.
    • The sum of these fractions would not exceed 1.00 in respect of any single substantive appointment 
  • The FTE for members of staff who are on paid leave at the reference date is to be calculated in respect of the current duties they would have were they not to be on leave

Staff duties classification

Q: Current Duties Classification Type and Level (Element 408) and Current Salary (Element 423) are listed in the PIR reference document as two ways of measuring staff profile and seniority. The 2015 PIR data template lists both of these fields in data template 2a and 2b as ‘Mandatory’. Do both elements have to be provided or is one sufficient? How do I accurately classify and report academic staff?

A: In the 2015 PIR, TEQSA requires providers to report staff members utilising two elements. These elements are:

  • Current Duties Classification (Element 408) and;
  • Current Salary (Element 423)

It is preferable for providers to use both Element 408 and Element 423 in the PIR data template. However, if you have difficulties classifying your institution’s staff according to Element 408, TEQSA requests data in the form of Element 423 (Salary) as a minimum.

For more detail on how to accurately classify and report academic staff, please refer to the 2015 PIR Reference Document

Senior academic leaders

Q: What is a senior academic leader? How can I accurately report my PIR data to ensure that all senior academic leaders are reported?

A: Senior academic leaders typically make a strong contribution to key academic policies for the organisation, internal quality review, supervise staff and show professional leadership in their field of expertise.

The number of senior academic leaders per Broad Field of Education is an indicator under the TEQSA Risk Assessment Framework, calculated using reported data from each provider on the number (headcount) of academic teaching staff at Level D or E or equivalent (alternative code 160 against Element 408 of the PIR). When assessing the senior academic leader indicator, TEQSA may also take into account additional information such as salary (Element 423), non-teaching senior academic staff, regulatory history and provider context.

To ensure that you have reported this data accurately for your institution, TEQSA recommends that you closely consider the classification of your institution’s academic staff against Element 408 (Current Duties Classification) and Element 412 (Function). 

For more detail on how to accurately classify and report academic staff against these elements, please refer to the 2015 PIR Reference Document

Overseas staff

Q: Do I need to report overseas academic staff?

A: Yes, if they are employees of the ‘registered entity’ that are involved in teaching and delivery of higher education awards.

Third party staff

Q: Do I have to report third party or related party staff data in the 2015 PIR?

A: No, providers are not required to report third party staff data to TEQSA under the 2015 PIR. The 2015 PIR collects staff data for the legal registered entity.

Q: What if my organisation considers third party staff data important to support TEQSA in understanding our higher education operations?

A: If you consider that third party staff delivery is an important part of your institution’s delivery model (for example all higher education teaching and learning delivery is through partner institutions) and would like to discuss the possibility of a supplementary data submission then please contact collections@teqsa.gov.au.

Q: What happens if my institution relies on partner institutions and we do not provide third party staff data during the 2015 PIR?

A: There is no obligation to provide any supplementary data during the 2015 PIR.

TEQSA will provide other opportunities for discussion about how each provider operates at points in the risk assessment cycle and as part of any regulatory business, where appropriate.  

Where third party delivery is a significant part of operations (for example in consortium models) and there is no view of academic staff data through the risk assessment process, this is likely to result in a ‘no confidence in data’ rating. This means that the academic staff workforce may be an area of extended focus in future regulatory processes or TEQSA may request additional information if deemed necessary. 

Finance

Annual Financial Statements

Q: My institution’s financial statements will not be signed off by the auditors before the 2015 PIR deadline of 31 August as we have a 30 June year end. What should I do in this circumstance?

A: It is important that TEQSA performs risk assessment and other regulatory processes using the most current and accurate financial information available. TEQSA recognises that some providers with a financial year end of 30 June 2015 may find it difficult to submit financial information by 31 August 2015. These providers should select the option ‘Not Submitted - will submit in 31 October Supplementary Collection’ in the PIR Data Submission Template and submit the financial management report and AFS by 31 October 2015. TEQSA will contact these providers prior to 31 October 2015 to confirm this arrangement and schedule a supplementary collection of this data for the PIR.

Q: Do I need to submit my institution’s financial statements to TEQSA if I have already submitted a copy to the Department of Education and Training?

A: No, if your institution has already submitted its most recent Audited Financial Statements to the Department of Education (FEE-HELP providers only), or to TEQSA through section 27 of the TEQSA Act or a regulatory process (e.g. renewal of registration, course accreditation, CRICOS registration etc.) then you do not have to submit Audited Financial Statements again for the 2015 PIR. However you will need to complete the financial management reporting templates which form part of the PIR.

When you submit information for your institution under the 2015 PIR, please indicate on the cover sheet (using the dropdown list) that you have already lodged the statements to TEQSA through any of these other channels. For further information, please refer the 2015 Provider Information Request: Reference Document

Q: My institution is a non-Table A provider. Can I provide special purpose financial statements?

A: For higher education providers that are not Table A providers under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA), the form of annual financial statements to be provided to TEQSA, is dependent on the provider’s existing financial reporting obligations.

For detailed information regarding your institution’s provider obligations, please refer to the annual financial statements webpage

Financial Management Reports

Q: Do I need to complete TEQSA’s Financial Management Report if I have already submitted something similar to the Department of Education via HITS? 

A: TEQSA’s financial management reports have been designed to collect cash flow information as well as specific higher education revenue and expense data elements to support TEQSA’s risk reflective regulation. TEQSA requests that providers populate the templates using data from the institution’s most recently Audited Financial Statements. Data submitted through this template will assist TEQSA to undertake accurate risk assessments, reduce the regulatory burden and inform regulatory processes. 

Q: I am not familiar with some of the terms in TEQSA’s PIR financial data templates. Is there additional guidance about what should or should not be included for each data element?

A: A description on each of the financial data elements is available by clicking on the cell containing the ⓘ icon next to the respective data element cell. This information is also available in the 2015 Provider Information Request: Reference Document . If, after reviewing these information sources, you are still unsure about a data element, please contact collections@teqsa.gov.au for further assistance.