NSW and ACT universities take sector-leading steps to strengthen early offer admissions

Published 11 January 2023
Students at Lismore campus outside Learning Centre

The New South Wales Vice-Chancellors’ Committee (NSWVCC), the peak body for universities in NSW and the ACT, has initiated a sector-leading approach to introduce a new set of underlying principles for early offer admissions in 2024.

Convener of the NSWVCC, Professor Barney Glover AO, said: “We acknowledge the views and feedback of the NSW Education Standards Authority, and some school principals around early offer programs. Protecting the integrity of the HSC is critical and early offer programs must be justifiable and transparent.

“We also agree that student wellbeing should be a major consideration when providing early offer programs. The development of a set of principles is the first step to addressing current underlying concerns whilst maintaining benefits that accrue to students from these programs.”

The five-key principles endorsed by the NSWVCC are:

  1. that universities, as self-accrediting institutions, are responsible for their admission policies and procedures, consistent with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards)
  2. that university admissions practices should be cognisant of the needs of students and ensure that those students admitted are capable of succeeding with appropriate support
  3. that admission practices should be evidence-based, transparent and publicly defensible
  4. that admission practices should respect and support the integrity of the HSC and are conditional on the completion of the HSC
  5. that early offers for 2024 (with one agreed and unavoidable exception) will not be issued before September 2023.

These principles will apply to early offers made to students completing the HSC in 2023 for admission to university in 2024. In supporting the integrity of the HSC, the principles will require that all early offers be conditional on the completion of the HSC.

“Alongside early offer programs, the NSWVCC continues to support the ATAR which provides a consistent starting point for tertiary entry across all states and territories, no matter where a student completes their senior secondary study,” said Professor Glover.

“NSW and ACT universities are committed to upholding the integrity and standards of all admission programs and through the NSWVCC, and in collaboration with other key stakeholders, will continue to monitor and assess the impact of early offer programs in 2023.

“We look forward to welcoming students into their chosen courses.”

Media contact: Sharlene King, media office at Southern Cross University 0429 661 349 or scumedia@scu.edu.au