A colleague sent me an interesting study from the Australian Council for Educational Research titled “Completing university in a growing sector: Is equity an issue“. There is one particular page that caught my attention. It shows completion rates, nine years after commencement, for domestic bachelor students commencing in 2005.
It showed lower completion rates for low socioeconomic students, indigenous students, remote and regional students, part-time students and students over 25 years of age. Ok. Nothing new here and we know that (generally) the lower the tertiary entrance score, the higher the student attrition. Now there are all sorts of arguments to be made about how this doesn’t apply to each and every student, in every cast. However the trend is evident at the macro level. Students with one or more of these indicators are more likely to not complete their studies.
This, to me, highlights a real problem around funding plans for higher education such as the one from The Australian Labor Party last week. I would expect that regional universities would have higher proportions of students who exhibit the indicators listed above, especially with remote and regional. So I hope that this plan will take into account how exposed regional universities are to plans based on, lets be polite and say awkward, performance indicators.