Australian regulator greenlights Adelaide University merger

Few remaining obstacles for one of the biggest university amalgamations in history

May 28, 2024
Adelaide University Bridge
Source: iStock

One of the biggest university mergers in history has moved a step closer to realisation, after Australia’s higher education regulator granted Adelaide University its initial registration.

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (Teqsa) has registered the institution, to be formed through the amalgamation of the universities of Adelaide and of South Australia, for the next seven years.

“The establishment of the new Adelaide University is a unique occurrence,” said Teqsa chief executive Mary Russell. “The appropriate governance and academic provisions are in place, and…the new institution meets the requirements for registration.”

Adelaide University plans to commence operations in January 2026. A joint statement from the constituent institutions’ vice-chancellors, South Australia’s David Lloyd and Adelaide’s Peter Høj, described Teqsa registration as a “significant milestone”.

“This is an important step forward in the formal regulatory process and provides absolute confidence in our stated ambition as we prepare to launch the nation’s new for-purpose university,” the statement said. “Adelaide University has a compelling reason to exist…and we look forward to taking the new institution to the world.”

The merger has already been approved by the current universities’ governing councils and by the South Australian government, which has committed A$445 million (£232 million) towards the venture.

A South Australian parliamentary inquiry endorsed the project last October, and state legislation underpinning the new institution was passed in March.

The merger still requires an amendment of the federal legislation governing university funding, the Higher Education Support Act, to enable Adelaide University to receive public grants. But the federal government’s support seems assured after education minister Jason Clare signed a “statement of cooperation” in 2022.

To accept international enrolments, Adelaide University and its courses will also need to be listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students.

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