Higher education and tertiary policy

The department engages with the higher education sector on policy, programs and initiatives and administers legislation for NSW public universities.

Higher education sector in NSW

New South Wales has 10 public universities with campuses in over 25 locations and 58 private and not-for-profit providers. The department plays a critical role in administering the legislative responsibilities of the state’s public universities as well as ensuring ongoing engagement with the NSW Vice Chancellor’s Committee, other states, territories and the Commonwealth on policy and implementation issues.

Tertiary pathways project

The department in conjunction with the NSW Department of Industry and NSW Skills Board is currently developing a number of innovative pathway models from vocational education and training to higher education.

The pathways project goes beyond traditional credit transfer arrangements to promote an integrated pathway approach that provides students with options to progress to higher learning and gain meaningful workforce qualifications.

The program is currently piloting three broad models:

  • higher apprenticeships and traineeships
  • degree apprenticeships and traineeships
  • tertiary pathways.

Learn more about the tertiary pathways project.

Regional transition to university project

Research indicates a growing opportunity gap between high-ATAR achieving students in regional and metropolitan areas transitioning to university, despite the availability of regional universities. The trend is evident in both government and non-government schools among students who achieve ATARs of 75 and above.

The department worked with the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education at Curtin University to investigate how and why these students are making decisions about post-school options and identify ways to address the opportunity gap. Researchers spoke with over 500 students, parents, teachers and principals in 19 schools across regional NSW. The highlights of the research report can be found here. (PDF 221.39KB)

To receive a copy of the full report please contact the Higher Education and Tertiary Policy Directorate at higher.education@det.nsw.edu.au

Regional Transitions to University Grant


Grant applications closed on 14 January 2019. Information on the successful applicant/s will be made available when finalised.


The Regional Transition to University Grant aims to lift rates of transition from school to university by high achieving students in regional schools in NSW. There is up to $550,000 funding available to a NSW university or consortium over two years to support a grant or multiple grants.

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