Guidelines for the use of the word 'university'

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Only registered higher education providers can offer Australian higher education qualifications.

Individuals or groups wishing to use the word ‘university’ in a business, company or domain name must apply for consent from the Minister for Education and Youth, regardless of whether they are offering educational courses. This is to ensure that organisations purporting to be a university are in fact registered by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) to offer higher education courses, thereby assuring consumers of the high quality and legitimacy of the entity.

It is possible for non-universities that want to use the word ‘university’ in their name to have this approved - where it is clear from their name that they are not purporting to be an education provider.

From 24 April 2021, the Government introduced new requirements to use the word ‘university’ (or words or expressions of similar meaning) in Australian domain names. From that date, it is unlawful to use a new Australian domain name (e.g. ending in “.au”) with these words or letters without approval from the Minister. The requirement applies to domain names that include the letters “uni” unless those letters are part of a longer word, such as ‘community’ or ‘junior’. If the Minister’s approval is not sought and given, an affected domain name may be suspended or cancelled by the domain name administrator, as outlined in part 2.16 of the “.au Domain Administration Rules: Licensing” document.

The following guidelines and application forms are to be used by applicants for business, company and domain names. There is no fee imposed for the processing of applications.

For further information or enquiries, please send an email to: HigherEd@dese.gov.au.

Guidelines and application forms

Business names

Company names

Domain names