The Australian Government has made the decision to move a full cost-recovery model for the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) from 2020, in line with the Australian Government Charging Framework.
Currently, both TEQSA or ASQA only recover the costs of regulatory activity that is requested by Higher Education providers, and not the costs associated with compliance, monitoring, enforcement and investigations. This of course will change under these new arrangements.
To find the impact this will have on Higher Education providers and the sector at large, we sat down with DVE’s Governance and Compliance team Carly Boon and Dr Judy Szekeres, who is also a member of TEQSA’s panel of experts. Here’s a summary of what they had to say.
What will the full cost-recovery model mean for the Higher Education sector?
It is expected that the full cost recovery model will mean that the registration and accreditation fees for the providers will raise significantly. It’s unclear yet just how TEQSA will distribute these charges; this won’t be known until further information is revealed.
What should Higher Education providers plan and prepare for?
Regardless of how the fees are distributed, providers need to plan for an increase. If providers budget for a % increase and then find it does not apply to them, there is no harm done. However, getting caught with an unexpected spend (on top of the existing costs of resourcing a re-registration or initial registration) could be disastrous.
Registration and re-registration are already a significant cost, with several full-time staff members being required to ensure a successful project. Providers can talk to us at DVE about ways to gain efficiencies and run their registrations in a cohesive and effective manner, saving costs and ensuring there is space to allow for a % fee increase in the budget.
How will this impact accreditation and re-accreditation?
Early planning and budgeting will be critical. Those providers who leave their reregistration to the last minute may find they have unplanned expenses which will be difficult to justify but will be compulsory.
Early project planning will be critical to ensure that:
- All costs are considered; and
- Your re-registration can go as smoothly as possible and be turned around with TEQSA as quickly as possible (did you know that a well presented, organised, well-formatted submission will likely be assessed more quickly?)
Is there an upside to the full cost-recovery model?
Is there ever an upside to increased fees? We can only suggest that providers look at this as the impetus to take a hold of their reregistration and leverage the changes to drive for effective resources and ensuring an early roadmap and plan is in place.
For new registrations the increased fees may help applicants treat their registration with greater importance and ensure that adequate consideration is given to put forward a high-quality submission. The pain of having a second, or third try is not nice!
DVE is well positioned to help you ensure registration and accreditation are successful the first time. We can also assist you with finding other efficiencies in your institution through process improvement, reviews, system implementation and team development to create savings elsewhere.
We’ll continue to bring you updates on the planned full cost-recovery model, but also recommend you keep an eye out on TEQSA’s newsletter for all upcoming announcements.