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Uni course entry requirements need change

AAP logoAAP 15/11/2016 Helen Velissaris

The scores needed to get into Australian university courses could become a lot clearer for students.

A report into university admission systems found universities were not being transparent on what the actual cut off ATAR scores were to get into courses.

It also found entry scores were often much lower than what students had been told and alternate pathways of getting into a course were not clear or promoted well.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said a lack of transparency could mean universities feel like there's a lack of accountability on the way they behave.

"Some universities are trying to make the course they're offering look more prestigious, look more exclusive, when in reality it might be something different," Mr Birmingham told reporters on Wednesday.

He said the government will look to drive universities to be more transparent and accountable and help students to make wiser choices.

"We want to make sure that we actually get to a point where mums, dads, kids can look very clearly and understand what each university's standards are, what it is these kids need to achieve and therefore make wise and well-informed decisions about their future," Mr Birmingham said.

The report by the Higher Education Standards Panel handed down 14 recommendations and urged universities and the industry to:

- detail the lowest ATAR to receive an offer in a course

- to use common language in explaining admission processes

- create an online guide to explain higher education admissions information

Universities Australia, a peak body representing the university sector welcomed the reforms.

"(They) strike the right balance by strengthening information standardisation and consistency, while respecting the autonomy of universities to determine the mechanisms and criteria for student admissions," Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson said in a statement.

The federal government will respond to the panel in the next few weeks on how it will implement its reforms.

A review into university admissions by Fairfax Media found that up to 60 per cent of students in some universities were being admitted below the advertised minimum ATAR score.

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