Australia’s First University College

Date —

04 Sept 2019

Industry Sector/s —
Higher Education

Summary —

The reputation of the nation’s independent higher education sector for offering quality outcomes for students is exemplified by the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) awarding Avondale College of Higher Education the status of a ‘University College’.

Key Issues —

The decision of TEQSA to designate Avondale College of Higher Education as ‘University College’ was made on 28 August 2019. It recognises the quality and excellence in the education delivery and research undertaken by Avondale, as well as successful implementation of their long-term strategy to be become a leading provider of higher education in Australia.

Avondale College’s registration as an Australian university college marks the successful implementation of a long-term strategy of sustained quality development.

Between 1974 and the early 1990s, Avondale gained accreditation for degree programs in teacher education, nursing and health, humanities and creative arts, science, business and theology. In 1994, the journey to university status began with an application to the New South Wales Minister for Education.

The panel assessing the submission recommended the granting of university status subject to some conditions. Unfortunately, cabinet did not endorse the panel’s recommendation, with the Minister asking for increased research activity. Over the next 10 years, Avondale developed a suite of postgraduate degree programs, culminating in 2006 with accreditation to award Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

In 2006, a second submission was made for university status, with another request for further research development. Avondale responded with a strategic drive to advance its research performance while maintaining its tradition for excellence in teaching. By 2012, Avondale had achieved a ratio of research publications per staff member equivalent to the mean across all Australian universities.

In 2013, Avondale negotiated a partnership with Charles Sturt University in which the university agreed to provide mentoring in quality assurance and opportunities for benchmarking and collaborative research. Mutual recognition of each institution’s academic programs led to the dual badging of Avondale’s graduation testamurs as Avondale and Charles Sturt qualifications.

In 2014, Avondale became the first Australian non-university higher education provider to be granted full self-accrediting authority. In 2015, Avondale became a leader in quality assurance for the private higher education sector by developing the Higher Education Private Provider Quality Network (HEPP-QN), which now involves 40 institutions collaborating to foster excellence in their higher education programs.

Avondale College of Higher Education is a valued member of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA). The achievement of Avondale College of Higher Education serves as an exemplar of what quality providers in the independent tertiary education sector can achieve.

Member Engagement:

ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals belonging to the ITECA Higher Education Sector Interest Group.

ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Higher Education Reference Committee.

Further Information:

For more information on this issue please send an email to {{email}} or telephone 1300 421 017.  Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at

Disclaimer & Copyright:

The material published on this website page is intended for general information only and is not legal advice or other professional advice.  It may not be reproduced without ITECA’s prior written consent.

Other News


TEQSA Regulated Provider Forum

Independent higher education providers regulated by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) have access to a new support network. More


VET Funding Reform Call

State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers are being called upon to make all funding in vocational education and training fully contestable. More


VSL Provider Levy Discussion

A new levy is about to be whacked on independent provides that support students accessing VET Student Loans. What does it mean for quality RTOs? More