The Turnbull Government has today released a report on ways to improve the outcomes and prospects of higher education students in Australia.


Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the Improving retention, completion and success in higher education report by the Higher Education Standards Panel set outs reforms to better support students throughout their studies.


“We want students to make informed study choices, to be engaged and supported throughout their studies and ultimately complete their higher education qualifications,” Minister Birmingham said.


“It’s clear there is still room for improvement with attrition rates having remained at a similar level for over a decade now.


“It’s obviously preferable for students to fully complete their studies wherever possible, minimising the loss of time and money to them and the taxpayer, as well as successfully getting the skills and knowledge to transition into the workforce. 


“A greater focus on student outcomes improves the employment prospects of students, benefits prospective employers and ultimately delivers better value for taxpayers.


“Whilst some institutions have reduced their attrition rates and made big efforts to better support students, there is still work to be done across the entire sector.


The report’s recommendations centre around:

  • improving the guidance available to school leavers and mature-age people prior to enrolment
  • the provision of careers advice to students by higher education institutions
  • the introduction of retention strategies with retention benchmarks
  • requiring institutions to have a strategy and implementation plan to improve overall student wellbeing
  • further developing and publishing the calculation of attrition rates that take into account key student characteristics so as to better reflect institutional differences
  • requiring the sector to work with Government to clarify definitions around attrition, completion, retention and student success; and 
  • the introduction of a common student identifier across tertiary education.


“The Turnbull Government has accepted all of the recommendations from the Higher Education Standards Panel’s report.


“From 2020, additional funding for bachelor courses will be linked to performance outcomes. Linking funding to performance in areas such as completion and retention will encourage institutions to better support their students which ultimately benefits them and delivers better value for taxpayers.


“I thank the Panel for their work and have asked the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency and Universities Australia to work with my Department to develop an implementation plan for the recommendations.”


The final report Improving retention, completion and success in higher education can be found at: