Indigenous students' experience and engagement with support at university: A mixed-method study

Madeleine Benton*, Shane Hearn, Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
101 Downloads (Pure)


There remains significant under representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australian higher education systems. A number of strategies have been implemented by governments and universities to best support Indigenous students within higher education that have produced varying levels of success in increasing participation, retention and completions. One key strategy is the inclusion of Aboriginal Education Units within universities. The current study aimed to examine students experience and engagement with a range of support services across university, in particular with an Aboriginal Education Unit. Utilising a mixed-method approach, data were collected from 103 students who identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander at The University of Adelaide. Overall, students were most satisfied with support provided by family (70%) and the Aboriginal Education Unit (61%), followed by support provided by university faculties (49%), and the wider university (43%). The main reasons students were accessing the Unit was for academic and tutoring purposes, also rating tutoring as the most beneficial service provided by the Unit. This study highlights the importance of examining and evaluating enablers such as support mechanisms from the student perspective and has demonstrated the significant role Aboriginal Education Units play in the student experience, laying a crucial foundation for targeted support initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-264
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Indigenous Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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