Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for higher education providers

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) is working with providers to minimise the impact COVID-19 has on both providers and students.

On this page:

Find out about their latest regulatory advice.

This page contains information for higher education providers.

Departmental higher education activities delayed

To reduce administrative burden for higher education providers while they respond to the COVID‑19 situation, the Department of Education, Skills and Employment will be delaying a number of higher education activities, such as reports and data required from higher education providers.

Further details are available on the specific activities that have been delayed or deferred.

Higher Education Relief Package

On 12 April 2020, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, the Minister for Education and Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, announced the Higher Education Relief Package.

The package was implemented to support workers displaced by the COVID-19 crisis to upskill or retrain, and support universities and other higher education providers to continue teaching.

To reduce the regulatory and cost burden on Australia’s education and training providers, the Government has waived registration fees due to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) or payable for registration on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions for Overseas Students (CRICOS), maintained by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

The 2020 fees paid to these agencies will be refunded and fees payable until 30 June 2021 will be waived.

Short, online courses

Universities and non-university providers offered new students short online courses, delivered between May and December 2020.

Clinical education during the COVID-19 pandemic

As health service providers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, some student placements have been paused or cancelled. The Australian Government, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra), national boards and accreditation authorities, want to encourage student placements to continue where this is safe and possible, recognising that health services and supervising clinicians will need to balance the risks and benefits to students and the health workforce.

A set of principles for student clinical education have been developed to help guide these decisions.


On 16 June 2020, Safe Work Australia published resources specific to the tertiary education sector which includes resources on work health and safety, workers’ compensation and COVID-19. The guidance is applicable to:

  • Universities
  • TAFEs
  • Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), and 
  • English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).

On 28 July 2020, the Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET) has published Return-to-Campus Guidelines specific to the tertiary education sector, which includes resources on ensuring a safe and welcoming experience for people with disability. The guidance is applicable to:

  • Universities
  • TAFEs
  • Registered Training Organisations (RTOs)