Useful Terms


Laptop, notepad and penIf you are looking at course descriptions, you will come across a lot of special terms used by institutions in Australia. Some of these terms can be quite confusing — especially if English isn’t your first language. 

To assist you in your search for the perfect course in Australia, Studies in Australia has listed the main terms that you will need to know.

  • AQF: Australian Qualifications Framework — Australia’s national system of qualifications, which helps students to plan their education, training and career pathways.
     
  • ATAR: Australian Tertiary Admission Rank — the ranking system used across Australia (except Queensland — see OP) to determine tertiary admission of school leavers.
     
  • AUD: Australian dollars

  • CAE: Certificate in Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced — an exam in Advanced English administered by the University of Cambridge designed to assess English language proficiency.
     
  • CoE: Confirmation of Enrolment — an online confirmation of a student’s enrolment that details subjects and fees.
     
  • CRICOS: Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students — an Australian Government website that lists Australian education providers that are registered to offer courses to people studying in Australia on a student visa.
     
  • CSP: Commonwealth Supported Place — a government-subsidised place in a higher education program available to domestic students only. International students are required to pay full fees.
     
  • DIBP: Department of Immigration and Border Protection — the federal government department that handles applications for international student visas and permanent residency.
     
  • EAP: English for Academic Purposes — the name given to education programs designed to prepare international students with the necessary levels of English language proficiency for tertiary study.
     
  • ELICOS: English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students — the name given to courses designed to prepare international students with the necessary levels of English language proficiency required for study in Australia.
     
  • ESL: English as a Second Language — English courses for students whose first language is not English. These courses are designed to help students improve their English skills.
     
  • ESOS: Education Services for Overseas Students Act — an Australian act of parliament that governs the delivery of education to international students.
     
  • FEE-HELP — a federal higher education loan scheme for domestic students only.
     
  • GPA: Grade Point Average — the average grade required for admission into a course or other program such as an exchange.
     
  • HECS-HELP: a federal higher education loan scheme for domestic students only.
     
  • HSC: Higher School Certificate — the senior secondary certificate completed by secondary school students in the state of New South Wales, the results of which are often used as a basis for the tertiary entry of domestic students.
     
  • IELTS: International English Language Testing System — a popular English language testing system used by Australian institutions to determine a student’s English language proficiency
     
  • LOTE: Languages Other Than English — a name used to describe courses that teach languages other than English or people who speak languages other than English.
     
  • NEAS: National English Language Teaching Accreditation Scheme — a register of Australian institutions accredited to offer ELICOS courses. NEAS accredits and monitors ELICOS providers to maintain a high standard of ELICOS teaching in Australia.
     
  • NESB: Non-English Speaking Background — used to describe people who come from a background where a language other than English is spoken.
     
  • NTCET: Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training — the senior secondary certificate completed by secondary school students in the Northern Territory, the results of which are often used as a basis for the tertiary entry of domestic students.
     
  • OP: Overall Position — the ranking system used in the state of Queensland to determine tertiary admission of school leavers.
     
  • OSHC: Overseas Student Health Cover — health cover required by most international students while residing in Australia.
     
  • QCE: Queensland Certificate of Education — the senior secondary certificate completed by secondary school students in the state of Queensland, the results of which are often used as a basis for the tertiary entry of domestic students.
     
  • RPL: Recognition of Prior Learning — A process that allows students to earn recognition and credit for their previous study, employment and life experience, reducing the time required to complete the course.
     
  • RTO: Registered Training Organisation — an organisation that is accredited to deliver VET courses. RTOs include private colleges, private companies, TAFE institutes, industry bodies, secondary schools and community organisations.
     
  • SACE: South Australian Certificate of Education — the senior secondary certificate completed by secondary school students in the state of South Australia, the results of which are often used as a basis for the tertiary entry of domestic students.
     
  • TAFE: Technical and Further Education — TAFE institutes are government-funded RTOs. They are located around the country and offer mostly VET courses, as well as ELICOS and higher education in some cases.
     
  • TEQSA: Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency — the agency that regulates and ensures the quality of higher education programs in Australia.
     
  • TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language — a popular English language testing system used by Australian institutions to determine a student’s English language proficiency.
     
  • VCE: Victorian Certificate of Education — the senior secondary certificate completed by secondary school students in the state of Victoria, the results of which are often used as a basis for the tertiary entry of domestic students.
     
  • VET: Vocational Education and Training — courses that have a vocational focus to train students for occupations that require qualifications at certificate and diploma level, as opposed to courses in the higher education sector, which have an academic focus and educate students for careers that require degree qualifications or higher. These courses are offered by RTOs and some universities. 
     
  • VET FEE-HELP — a federal loan scheme in the VET sector for domestic students only.
     
  • WACE: Western Australian Certificate of Education — the senior secondary certificate completed by secondary school students in the state of Western Australia, the results of which are often used as a basis for the tertiary entry of domestic students.
     
  • WIL: Work Integrated Learning — work experience that is integrated into a course and forms a part of the course assessment.

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