COPHE: Recognition, Employability, Quality

The Council of Private Higher Education Inc. (COPHE) is a peak body representing Australia’s high-quality independent higher education providers.

With more than 130,000 students enrolled at 120 providers, 10% of Australian higher education students have chosen an independent provider.  And with significant growth in enrolments, independent education is the fastest growing sector of Australian higher education.

COPHE’s diverse membership includes large independent Universities, colleges, business schools, niche providers and professional associations offering a range of educational programs from bachelor degree through to doctoral studies. COPHE members provide accredited courses in disciplines including law, business, agricultural science, architecture, engineering, theology, art and design, photography and hospitality management.

Membership of COPHE is a badge of quality for Australian independent providers.  All members are registered and accredited with the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency – the Australian government’s regulator of all universities and higher education providers.

Admission to membership is conditional on agreement to comply with a Code of Practice built on regulatory compliance, strong governance, ethical business models, quality teaching, and student engagement.

“COPHE membership is, quite rightly, a badge of quality. New membership admissions and processes that you’ve applied ensure a very high entry bar. A new compulsory code of practice requires members to agree to regulatory compliance, to ethical business models and to strong governance and student protections. That’s a credit to all of you.” – Sen. The Hon. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training, 23 May, 2018

One of the best measures of education quality is an independent survey of student experience. COPHE member’s commitment to quality teaching and student support is highly regarded by students with independent providers dominating the top 25 rankings by undergraduate students for teaching quality and student support.

These rankings are determined by the Australian Government’s survey of all universities and higher education providers – Quality Indicators in Learning & Teaching (QILT). Students rank independent providers in 24 of the top 25 scores for teaching quality and student support.

Australian higher education is recognised worldwide as preparing students for leadership, employment and successful careers. Independent higher education providers contribute to that recognition through delivery of high quality education.

Benefits of Membership

COPHE’s strong national advocacy is informed by our diverse range of members across Australia. As a peak body for Australian independent higher education providers (iHEPs) COPHE supports its members through:

  • Advocacy and representation on key issues impacting independent providers and their students
  • Submissions to government agencies, parliamentary committees and department forums on sector wide policy issues
  • Liaison with, and direct representation to, the higher education regulator – TEQSA
  • Representation at government policy setting forums for international students including student visa policy
  • Benchmarking initiatives targeted at current issues and compliance with the Higher Education Standards Framework
  • Access to services including academic libraries, tuition assurance, and student support
  • A network of partners and affiliates including legal services, education consultancies and services
  • Professional development of higher education staff through seminars and training

For more information about joining COPHE please contact Scott Clayton at