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Welcome to COPHE

The Council of Private Higher Education (COPHE) represents 50 private higher education providers, including private universities, with 80 campuses across Australia.

COPHE members are both for profit and not-for-profit institutions and educate domestic and international students in undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Some have been operating for over a century.

The private higher education sector in Australia has been growing steadily and now enrols almost 10 per cent of Australian higher education students.

COPHE holds a unique position within the sector as a representative peak body of higher education providers only. Whilst some members are dual sector, only the registered higher education entity affiliates through COPHE membership.

Membership of COPHE is only open to providers that are registered with the Australian regulator – Tertiary Education Quality Standards Authority (TEQSA). Membership is also conditional on continued compliance with COPHE’s Code of Good Practice.

COPHE was established in 2001 to highlight the contribution made by the private sector to higher education in Australia. For its first 15 years, COPHE was under the leadership of its founding CEO Adrian McComb.

Through Mr McComb and the COPHE Executive Board, Members were engaged in most of the issues facing the higher education sector including being instrumental in the establishment of FEE-HELP. Mr Simon Finn was appointed COPHE's new CEO in 2017 following Mr McComb’s retirement.

COPHE offers a network and forum for members, as well as services such as tuition assurance, a library consortium, TEQSA liaison and continuing professional development opportunities.

COPHE’s primary goal is promoting equity, choice and diversity for all Australian higher education students.


Simon Finn, Chief Executive Officer, Council of Private Higher Education (COPHE)

Simon has extensive experience at senior levels of government and public sector leadership, having served as an MP and Minister in the Queensland government. In these roles Simon worked closely with communities to develop education opportunities and vocational and employment outcomes.

Simon commenced his working career in higher education in student service management at Victoria University and James Cook University.  With experience in student support needs, Simon was active within management and governance structures of those universities. 

Following his career in politics, Simon returned to the higher education sector and prior to joining COPHE served as a CEO of a private higher education provider. He is passionate about diversity in the higher education sector, providing a strong voice for higher education providers and students.