Australian Universities Accord

In November 2022, the Australian Government commissioned the Australian Universities Accord (the Accord), the broadest review of the higher education sector in 15 years. 

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The Hon Jason Clare MP, Minister for Education, released the Accord’s Final Report (the Final Report) on 25 February 2024, setting out 47 recommendations as a blueprint for the next decade to help build a better and fairer education system. While primarily focussed on growing and strengthening the higher education sector, the Accord provides a generational opportunity to drive a cohesive and connected tertiary education system, drawing on the strengths of both VET and higher education. 

Read more about the Australian Universities Accord

How is the government delivering the Accord’s lasting reform of the tertiary education system?

As part of the 2024–25 Budget, the Government is delivering on reforms recommended by the Australian Universities Accord. This includes cost of living relief for students undertaking mandatory placements, a fairer Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) system, and structural reforms to our tertiary education system.

Read the Australian Government’s Accord 2024-25 Budget Summary

How will this impact the VET sector?

The Government has committed to the following reforms to ensure the tertiary education system can deliver Australia’s future skills and workforce needs. These reforms recognise the need for growth in both VET and higher education sectors, and the crucial role they play in delivering skills and building participation for students from under-represented backgrounds.

Commonwealth Prac Payment

The Australian Government will establish a new Commonwealth Prac Payment (CPP) to support VET students in a nursing qualification to manage the costs associated with doing mandatory placements as part of their course.

From July 2025, eligible students will be able to access $319.50 per week (benchmarked to the single Austudy rate) while they are on a placement.

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations will administer payments to VET students through an online student claim-based approach.  


Stakeholders will be consulted as part of the development of Program Guidelines, including First Nations people to ensure payments are accessible.

Further information about CPP in the VET sector will be available in due course.

Read about the CPP in higher education

Changes to the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)

The Government is reforming HELP and other income contingent loan programs, including VET Student Loans and Australian Apprenticeship Support Loans (Apprenticeship Support Loans), to make them fairer. Indexation of loans will be capped to be the lower of either the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Wage Price Index (WPI), with effect from 1 June 2023.

Read more about the changes to the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP)

Read more about the VET Student Loans (VSL) Program

Read more about the Australian Apprenticeship Support Loans (Apprenticeship Support Loans) Program

Tertiary Harmonisation

Tertiary Harmonisation reforms will bring providers across VET and higher education, industry and governments together to ensure students can navigate the entire tertiary education system, including to reskill and upskill. Students need the right pathways to study what they want, how they want, and to gain the skills needed by industry and the economy in the future, particularly in areas of national priority. Tertiary Harmonisation reforms will:

  • improve credit recognition between VET and higher education,
  • improve regulatory approaches for dual sector providers,
  • pilot delegating Australian Skills Quality Authority’s (ASQA) VET course accreditation to select TAFEs,
  • enable some TAFEs to self-accredit certain higher education courses, facilitated by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), and
  • enable Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) to build better data to understand how students are accessing and moving between VET and higher education. 

Further information on this work will be available in due course.