Acronyms and Glossary
Items listed under A
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
A person of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies themselves as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which they live.
Adjusted attrition rate
Adjusted attrition rate pertains to commencing domestic undergraduate students. It is the number of students in year (x) who neither complete nor return to study in the following year (x + 1) as a percentage of all commencing, domestic, undergraduate students taking into account students who move to another university.
Adjusted retention rate
Adjusted retention rate pertains to the number of domestic students who undertook an undergraduate course in year(x) and continue studying in the following year (x+1) as a proportion of all domestic students who undertook an undergraduate course in year(x) and did not complete a course in year(x) taking into account students who move to another university.
An undergraduate award that provides more specialised knowledge and skills, including theoretical, technical, creative and conceptual skills.
Someone who applies for a Commonwealth supported place at an Australian university.
Approximate course fees
The course fees shown are a guide to approximately how much a full time student could expect to pay in student contributions or tuition fees for their first year of study.
Areas of study
A series of academic units/subjects that enable students to pursue learning in a coherent way in a single discipline or academic area.
An undergraduate award that provides more specialised knowledge and skills, with depth in some areas. Commonly articulates to bachelor degree programs in the same or closely related fields.
A higher education provider classifies attendance as being full time or part time. This is based on the equivalent full time student load (EFTSL) for the student aggregated across all units of study (including work experience in industry units) for all courses being undertaken by the student in the reporting year.
Attrition rate is defined for commencing domestic / international undergraduate students. It is the number of students in year (x) who neither complete nor return to study in the following year (x + 1) as a percentage of all commencing, domestic / international, undergraduate students.
Australian awards for university teaching
Awards for the nation’s most outstanding university teachers in their fields and for learning and teaching support programs that make an outstanding contribution to the quality of student learning and experience.
Australian Graduate Survey
Graduate Careers Australia manages this national survey of newly qualified higher education graduates. The survey collects data about graduates’ study experiences and their destinations after completing their course.
Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scholarship
Australian Postgraduate Award scholarships are awarded to students of exceptional research potential undertaking a doctorate or masters degree by research. Higher education providers administer the scheme on behalf of the Department of Education.
Australian Research Council (ARC)
The ARC is a statutory agency under the Department of Education portfolio within the Australian Government. Its mission is to deliver policy and programs that advance Australian research and innovation globally and benefit the community.
Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)
The Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank indicates a student's position in relation to their Year 7 cohort. It is used by higher education providers (except those in Queensland) either on its own or in conjunction with other selection criteria, to rank and select students for admission to tertiary courses.
A recognised certification of achievement or competence, which may be granted to a student after completion of all the requirements of a higher education course or vocational education and training (e.g. TAFE) course.
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Items listed under B
The main undergraduate award offered in higher education that provides a broad theoretical understanding of the underlying principles and concepts relating to a specific or general body of knowledge. It prepares students for entry to particular professions, vocations, or postgraduate study.
Basis of admission
The main criterion used by higher education providers in granting a student admission to a current course.
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Items listed under C
The physical location from where a program of study is being primarily delivered. This location may or may not be owned by the higher education provider that enrols the student. For online or other distance education courses, this would be the location where the electronic course material is maintained.
Accommodation that is available on a campus, regardless of whether the accommodation is owned and operated by the higher education provider or privately owned and operated.
A staff member who does not work for a regular, continuous period.
The calendar year that data is collected by the Department of Education.
A student enrolled in a course for the first time at a university or other higher education provider.
Commonwealth supported place (formerly HECS)
A place at an approved provider that is subsidised by the Australian Government so that students only have to pay ‘student contribution’ amounts for their units of study.
Commonwealth supported student
A student who is enrolled in a Commonwealth supported place at an approved provider.
A student who has successfully completed all the academic requirements of a course, including any required attendance, assignments, examinations, assessments, dissertations, practical experience and work experience in industry.
The confidence interval for a specific statistic is the range of values around the statistic where the 'true' (population) statistic can be expected to be located with a given level of certainty. For example, a 95% confidence interval means that 95 times out of 100, the true value will fall within the upper and lower confidence intervals.
A student who continues their course of study from the reference year to the next year.
Course Experience Questionnaire
This survey forms part of the Australian Graduate Survey and focuses largely on the perceptions of coursework graduates about course quality, self-rated skill levels and their overall satisfaction. Graduate Careers Australia manages this national survey.
The duration of a course is the total Equivalent Full Time Study Loads (EFTSLs). For universities that offer intensive or accelerated learning programs, the duration of the course of study can be reduced.
Course fee type
There are two methods of paying for a course: Commonwealth supported place or fee-paying place.
The normal length of time it takes to complete a course when studying full time 1.00 EFTSL per year (e.g. most bachelor level courses are three or four years).
Course of study
Studies leading to a higher education award e.g. bachelor degree.
The entry cut-off reported is the published lowest entry cut-off for the previous year’s Year 12 students who received an offer of a Commonwealth supported or domestic fee-paying place in the course through standard admission in the main round of admission for the current academic year, where academic qualifications were the sole criterion for offer of a domestic fee-paying place (except for school subject prerequisites).
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Items listed under D
Dedicated study places (at a library)
A study place may be a desk space and chair or a space in dedicated rooms for group study.
Department of Education
The Department of Education is responsible for national policies and programs that help Australians access quality and affordable childcare, early childhood education, school education, post-school, higher education, international education and academic research.
Department of Industry
The Department of Industry was established on 18 September 2013. The new department consolidates the Australian Government's efforts to drive economic growth, productivity and competitiveness by bringing together industry, energy, resources, science and skills.
An undergraduate award that provides basic knowledge and skills, with depth in some areas. Includes application of theoretical concepts and technical or creative skills.
Support and assistance for students with disabilities.
A mode of study where students can undertake a course of study off campus, using hard copy or online materials.
A postgraduate award that has an in-depth theoretical focus. Involves an original research project in a particular field of interest within the broader area of interest previously studied. Produces a significant contribution to knowledge and understanding in the chosen field.
Domestic fee-paying student
A domestic student who is not Commonwealth supported for a unit of study. Fee-paying students pay tuition fees. Fee-paying students are also known as ‘non-Commonwealth-supported students’.
A student who is one of the following:
- Australian citizen (including Australian citizens with dual citizenship) or
- New Zealand citizen or a diplomatic or consular representative of New Zealand, a member of the staff of such a representative or the spouse or dependent relative of such a representative, excluding those with Australian citizenship. (Note: includes any such persons who have Permanent Resident status) or
- a permanent humanitarian visa holder or
- a holder of a permanent visa other than a permanent humanitarian visa.
The duration of a course is the total Equivalent Full Time Study Load (EFTSL). For universities that offer intensive or accelerated learning programs, the duration of the course of study can be reduced. For example, if a course has a duration of 3 years, it may be possible to complete it in 2 years or less.
Under the Higher Education Support Act 2003, sections 179-5, 10, 15, 20(c) and the Privacy Act 1988, section 14 (IPP11), it is an offence to release any information that is likely to enable identification of any particular individual. To avoid any risk of disseminating identifiable data, a disclosure control technique called data suppression has been utilised. To ensure privacy, data fields that contain numbers less than five will be represented as ‘D/S and will have the footnote ‘D/S = Data has been suppressed’. Note that true zero values will always be reported as 0 and suppressed data falls within the range of 0 < x < 5.
Items listed under E
Equivalent full time student load (EFTSL)
The score determined by the institution as the lowest score at which any student, whether Commonwealth supported or domestic fee-paying, will be eligible for consideration for a course, excluding special entry.
A course of instruction provided to a person for the purpose of enabling the person to undertake a course leading to a higher education award.
English language programs
Support programs for students who have a language other than English as their first language.
Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)
The Excellence in Research for Australia initiative was developed by the Australian Research Council (ARC). ERA assesses research quality within Australia's higher education institutions at a discipline level using a combination of indicators and expert review committees that comprise experienced, internationally recognised experts. For more information see http://www.arc.gov.au/era/default.htm.
A mode of attendance where the student is studying a course where regular attendance is not required and lesson materials etc. are delivered to the student.
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Items listed under F
Frequently asked question.
Australian Government loan program to help eligible fee-paying students to pay their tuition fees.
A place in a course which is not a Commonwealth supported place (i.e. not subsidised by the Australian Government) and for which tuition fees are payable.
A domestic student who is not Commonwealth supported for a unit of study. Fee-paying students pay tuition fees.
Field of education
The field of education classification is used to describe higher education courses, specialisations and units of study with the same or similar vocational emphasis.
The classification provides a hierarchical structure with groupings at three levels:
- Level I: 12 broad fields of education (2 digit code);
- Level II: 83 narrow fields of education (4 digit code including the relevant Level I code) and;
- Level III: 439 detailed fields of education (6 digit code including the relevant Level I and Level II codes).
Field of Research (FoR)
The 2008 Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC) FoR classification allow research and development (R&D) activity to be categorised according to the field of research. The categories in the classification include major fields and related sub-fields of research and emerging areas of study investigated by businesses, universities, tertiary institutions, national research institutions and other organisations. For more information on FoR classifications see http://www.arc.gov.au/era/outcomes 2012/FoRindex.htm.
Assistance offered to students on general financial matters that may include student loans, assistance with budgeting and equity-based scholarships and grants.
Full time student
A student is classified as full time when their student load aggregated for all courses they are studying in the reporting year is 0.75 of an EFTSL or more.
Full time equivalence (FTE)
Staff resources associated with a member of staff or a group of members of staff holding a casual work contract, expressed in terms of the number of full time staff who would be required in a full year to perform equivalent duties.
Full time staff
A staff member who works a minimum of 35 hours per week for a regular, continuous period.
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Items listed under G
Positional or geographical data such as latitude and longitude coordinates of a physical location.
Generic Skills Scale
A measure of the level of satisfaction with generic skills acquired among bachelor graduates who have completed their degree. This data is sourced from the Course Experience Questionnaire conducted by Graduate Careers Australia (GCA).
Good Teaching Scale
A measure of the level of satisfaction with good teaching among bachelor graduates who have completed their degree. This data is sourced from the Course Experience Questionnaire conducted by Graduate Careers Australia (GCA).
Graduate Careers Australia
Graduate Careers Australia produces a range of graduate-related publications and research that informs a variety of audiences about graduate outcomes.
A postgraduate award that provides specialisation by developing or broadening vocational knowledge and skills or recognises some practical experience in a particular field of interest through an understanding, application and critical examination of principles, theories, models and methods.
Graduate Destination Survey
The Graduate Destination Survey forms part of the Australian Graduate Survey, which is a national survey of domestic students. The results provide measures such as percentage of graduates in full time study and percentage of graduates in full time employment.
A postgraduate award that extends graduate specialisation by developing or broadening vocational knowledge and skills in a new or existing field of interest through understanding, application and critical examination of principles, theories, models and methods. Develops practical experience in a chosen professional activity.
Graduates in full time employment
The proportion of domestic, bachelor degree graduates who were available for full time work and who were working full time four months after completion of their course. The data used to calculate the proportion is restricted to Australian residents and excludes questionnaires completed by relatives or from administrative data.
Graduates in full time study
The proportion of domestic, bachelor degree graduates who were studying full time four months after completion of their course. The data used to calculate the proportion is restricted to Australian residents and excludes questionnaires completed by relatives or from administrative data.
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Items listed under H
An Australian Government loan program that helps eligible Commonwealth supported students to pay their student contribution amounts. Before 2005 this was known as ‘HECS’.
Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)
An Australian Government loan program that helps eligible students to pay their student contributions, tuition fees and overseas study expenses. These loans are repaid through the Australian tax system.
Higher education provider
An organisation established by, or recognised by, the Commonwealth, a state, the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory. The provider has to be approved by the Minister for Education before it can receive grants or its students can receive assistance from the Commonwealth.
Assistance offered to students with their off-campus housing needs. This may include a help desk that provides information on private accommodation options and renting advice.
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Items listed under I
Income support services
Assistance offered to students on matters related to Centrelink payments, Youth Allowance or other types of government-funded income support.
A mode of attendance where the student physically attends the higher education provider on a regular basis.
A student who is not included in the definition of domestic student. International students include students who have a temporary entry permit or are a diplomat or a dependent of a diplomat (except New Zealand) and reside in Australia during the unit of study, and students who are not a domestic student and are residing outside Australia during the unit of study.
International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS)
International Postgraduate Research Scholarships are awarded to exceptional international students to help them undertake a postgraduate research qualification in Australia. Higher education providers administer the scheme on behalf of the Department of Education.
Intervarsity sports competitions are organised to provide openings for social contact amongst students.
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Items listed under L
A building or room fitted out with equipment for carrying out scientific research, experiments, tests etc.
Learning and teaching citations
Awards given to academic, general and sessional staff, and institutional associates who have made significant contributions to student learning in a specific area of responsibility over a sustained period.
This includes legal centres and general legal advice services.
Low socioeconomic status
The indicator of students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds is based on the department’s higher education interim indicator of socioeconomic status (SES). It is expressed as a percentage of all domestic undergraduate students with a permanent home address in Australia. It is based on a weighted combination of (1) an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) Index of Education and Occupation (IEO) component measure at the Census Collection District (CD) level and (2) a Centrelink student payments component measure. The low SES interim indicator is only calculated for domestic undergraduates enrolled in Table A universities.
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Items listed under M
A postgraduate award that has an in-depth theoretical focus, usually involving coursework and/or research, in a particular field of academic interest or the enhancement of professional and vocational skills.
Median graduate salary
The median graduate salary level of bachelor degree graduates who were working full time four months after completion of their courses. The data used to calculate the median is restricted to Australian residents and excludes questionnaires completed by relatives or from administrative data.
Mode of attendance
A classification for the way a student is undertaking a unit of study i.e. internal, external or multi-modal.
A mode of attendance where the student is studying a course which is undertaken partially on an internal mode of attendance and partially on an external mode of attendance.
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Items listed under N
The higher education provider has not provided the data to the Department of Education.
Not elsewhere classified.
If a student is enrolled with a provider in a subject or unit that may be undertaken as part of a course of study, course of instruction or tuition and training program, but the unit, course or program is not being undertaken as part of a course of study, then the enrolment is on a non-award basis.
Non-English speaking background student
A domestic student who arrived in Australia less than 10 years prior to the reporting year and who comes from a home where a language other than English is spoken.
Non-sporting clubs that are physically located on the campus of the university.
Number of applications
The number of applications made by domestic, undergraduate students to a Tertiary Admissions Centre or directly to a university for a Commonwealth supported university place in the first semester of an academic year. After reviewing the application, the university may make an offer to the student.
Number of offers
The number of offers a higher education provider has made to domestic, undergraduate students for a Commonwealth supported university place in the first semester of an academic year.
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Items listed under O
A campus of an Australian higher education provider, through which a program of study is being delivered, which is located outside Australia.
Other field specific facilities
A facility provided by a higher education provider that is not a laboratory e.g. photography studio.
Other higher education provider
An approved, registered Australian higher education provider that is not a university established or recognised by or under the law of the Commonwealth, a state, the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory that offers FEE-HELP higher education courses.
Overall position (OP) indicates a student’s state-wide rank and is only used in Queensland for admission to tertiary courses. There are 25 OP bands from 1 (highest) to 25 (lowest).
Overall satisfaction rate
The proportion of bachelor graduates that were satisfied with the overall quality of their course. This data is sourced from the Course Experience Questionnaire conducted by Graduate Careers Australia (GCA).
Any student who is not a domestic student.
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Items listed under P
Part time staff
A staff member who works fewer than 35 hours per week for a regular, continuous period.
Part time student
A student is classified as part time when their student load aggregated for all courses they are studying in the reporting year is less than 0.75 of an EFTSL.
Performance on Generic Skills Scale
A measure of the level of satisfaction with generic skills acquired among bachelor graduates. The data used to calculate the proportion includes both domestic and international students.
Performance on Good Teaching Scale
A measure of the level of satisfaction with good teaching among bachelor graduates. The data used to calculate the proportion includes both domestic and international students.
PhD is an abbreviation of ‘Doctor of Philosophy’ and is the main type of doctoral degree in Australia (see definition of doctoral degree). A PhD involves original research and can be undertaken in any field.
A course of study that leads to the award of a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, masters degree or doctorate.
Postgraduate research includes masters degrees by research and doctoral degrees, but exclude masters degrees by coursework.
Universities and higher education providers listed in subdivision 16-B of the Higher Education Support Act 2003, as determined by the Minister for Education.
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Items listed under Q
Quality of education experience
The percentage of undergraduate students who are satisfied with the quality of their educational experience. That is, they rate the quality of their overall educational experience as good or excellent. This data is sourced from the University Experience Survey conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in 2012.
Quality of teaching
The percentage of undergraduate students who are satisfied with the quality of teaching they have received in their course. That is, they rate the quality of teaching as good or excellent. This data is sourced from the University Experience Survey conducted by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in 2012.
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Items listed under R
The student’s postcode of permanent home residence is mapped to regional/remote categories using the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) classification. It includes domestic students with a permanent home residence in Australia only.
‘Research students’ refers to those who are undertaking a masters degree by research or a doctoral degree. It excludes those undertaking a masters degree by coursework.
Retention rate measures the percentage of students enrolled in one year who are enrolled in the subsequent year. Students completing a course and not continuing on to another course are not included in the calculation.
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Items listed under S
Student Services and Amenities Fee
Universities and other higher education providers are able to charge students a fee for student services and amenities of a non-academic nature. The fee may be spent by higher education providers on items such as health and welfare services, sporting and recreational activities, employment and career advice, child care, financial advice services and food services.
The Student Services, Amenities, Representation and Advocacy Guidelines (the Representation Guidelines) made under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 set out the requirements for higher education providers to consult in relation to the use of Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) revenue.
The subject area list is a tool that allows users to obtain statistical information that is specific to their area of interest. The list of 45 subject areas was derived by analysing comparable websites both in Australia and overseas. It also involved analysing data from the Department of Education data collections and Graduate Careers Australia survey data. The subject area list is based on the field of education classification system from the Australian Standard Classification of Education. This system is used by higher education providers to describe their higher education courses and is used to ensure courses with the same or similar emphasis are classified with the same field of education.
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Items listed under T
Tertiary Admissions Centre
A state-based central office that receives and processes applications for admission to participating higher education providers.
Total number of students
All domestic and overseas students in undergraduate or postgraduate courses.
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Items listed under U
A course of study that leads to the award of a diploma, advanced diploma, associate degree or a bachelor degree (pass, honours or graduate entry).
A higher education provider that is established as a university or recognised as a university, by or under a law of the Commonwealth, a state, the Australian Capital Territory or the Northern Territory, and meets nationally agreed criteria for a university.
University Experience Survey
A student survey conducted for the Department of Education and administered online by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in 2012. It is designed to collect data that will help improve teaching and learning outcomes.
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Items listed under Y
The year the institution was established as a university.
Year of offer
The year that students are applying to study a course.