ANU seeks ACCC intervention on admissions

14 April 2016

ANU has lodged a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleging anti-competitive behaviour by state-based university admissions centres.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie Hughes Warrington said the University has raised anti-competition concerns with the ACCC after being denied membership of three state-based university admissions centres.

As Australia's national university, around half of the annual student preferences to study at ANU come from people who live outside of the national capital.

"The decision by three states - Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland - to reject ANU membership of their admissions centres makes it more difficult for students in those states to access information about ANU and to apply to study at ANU," Professor Hughes-Warrington said.

"Applications for most undergraduate programs are 'in state'. Students apply to their local tertiary admission centre because that is the only place where their local university lists their offerings.

"If they want to apply to a university out of state, they have to pay a second application fee to another tertiary admission centre.

"What we are seeking on behalf of students and all universities is fairness and equal access."

ANU is a member of the UAC, which operates in New South Wales and the ACT, and has been allowed to apply to join the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC).

ANU is the only university in Australia established by an act of Federal Parliament.

Professor Hughes-Warrington said as a national institution, which offered some courses on-line across to people anywhere in Australia, students around the country should have equal access to information about ANU courses.

She said the anti-competitive behaviour strengthened the case for a national university admissions centre to replace the five separate state-based admissions centres.

"A national admissions centre might be the fairest solution for universities and for students, and make the admissions process more open and transparent," she said.

"A national applications system for Australia might lead to better efficiency through the scaling up of what are often small operations at state level, and the development of a more rounded suite of services to cover international student admissions and accommodation preferences."