6 WAYS Australian universities are stopping student attrition

Reid Meldrum, Benjamin Wilkes, Kevin Ashford-Rowe, Amritha Zachariah, Jenine Beekhuyzen, Marcus Randall, Jennie Show

Research output: Book/ReportOther reportEducation


The impact of COVID-19 on universities is still playing out but lower student engagement and satisfaction across 2020 and 2021 could lead to an increase in
attrition rates. Indeed, between May 2019 and May 2020, the number of tertiary students dropped by 112,500. Women made up three-quarters of the
reduction in student numbers. Prior to the pandemic, the student attrition rate at
Australian universities sat at around 15%, and approximately 20% for first-year students. According to the latest QILT Student Experience Survey, 19%
of students who were retained in 2021 actually considered leaving
with half of those citing health or stress as the major cause. Now, with more students enrolling at university, the number of students leaving without their
degree is growing substantially. So how can Australian universities address this
outward flow of students? Why are students leaving? How can we help them see
their studies through? Here, six higher education experts share their responses to these questions and their tips for how Australian universities can stem attrition rates. The focus, as you’ll see, is on creating a student experience that uses technology thoughtfully and creatively to build an inclusive and accessible learning environment where community and connection are prioritised.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherSimplus Australia
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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