Alert on Greenwich University

January 9, 2008

The Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training receives regular queries about the status of ‘Greenwich University’, a private institution which operated on Norfolk Island from 1998 until December 2002. (Note: Greenwich University Norfolk Island is in no way connected to the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom.) The following information provides responses to our most frequent enquiries.

What is the status in Australia of a degree obtained from Greenwich University (Norfolk Island)?

The Australian Government does not vouch for the quality of awards issued by institutions not listed on the register of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) . The AQF is the policy instrument by which Australian governments vouch for the quality of higher education institutions in Australia. Greenwich University on Norfolk Island was never listed on the relevant register of the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Do Greenwich University degrees meet the academic standards of Australian universities?

On the one occasion when Greenwich’s academic and financial standing was subject to independent assessment by the Commonwealth, an expert review committee of five persons found that “the standard of its courses, quality assurance mechanisms and academic leadership fail to meet the standards expected of Australian universities.”

No independent evidence has since been provided to the Australian Government that Greenwich University degrees meet the academic standards of Australian universities. It is open to Greenwich to apply for accreditation in Australia and to demonstrate that it does meet the standards required of an Australian university. It has not done so to date

I obtained a degree from Greenwich University (Norfolk Island). Is it ‘legal’?

Between 30 June 1998 and 2 December 2002, Greenwich University (Norfolk Island) degrees were lawfully awarded under legislation approved by the Norfolk Island Government, using its powers of self-government. While the Commonwealth Minister for Territories assented to legislation, this does not mean that Greenwich University awards were ever recognised by the Federal Government of Australia.

Is Greenwich University an accredited university?

To our knowledge, Greenwich University has never been accredited by any recognised government accreditation authority to deliver higher education awards. It authorises itself to award degrees in its company objects.

Will employers recognise a Greenwich University degree?

The recognition of degrees for employment purposes is a matter for individual employers. Decisions about recognition may be based on official accreditation status. We are aware of some employers and professional bodies that will not recognise a Greenwich degree for employment or promotion purposes.

Will Australian universities recognise my Greenwich degree for entry and/or credit?

Individual education institutions are free to decide what recognition they give to degrees for entry and credit, including degrees obtained from non-AQF listed and non-accredited institutions. We are not aware of any Australian universities listed on the AQF that would enrol you in a degree program solely on the basis of an award completed at Greenwich University.\

What is the status of the Greenwich University Act (Norfolk Island) 1998?

On 2 December 2002, the Federal Government of Australia enacted legislation to regulate the use of the title university and the delivery of higher education in the external Territories. This legislation overrode the operation of the Greenwich University Act 1998 (Norfolk Island). From 2 December 2002 the Greenwich University Act (Norfolk Island) 1998 is of no effect, even though it remains on the statute book of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly.

Where can I obtain more information?

The Commonwealth Department of Education Science and Training (DEST) operates a website which alerts the public to the operation of unaccredited higher education providers. On the website, inquirers can access an email service to query the status of higher education providers.

This article was posted on January 9, 2008.