Recent attrition rates confirm AUSSE findings

Media release

Back to media releases

Friday, 11 Dec 2009

For immediate release Friday December 11, 2009
Recent attrition rates confirm AUSSE findings

It comes as no surprise that one in five first-year Australian students drop out of university, says Principal Research Fellow Hamish Coates of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

Media reports this week referred to national university attrition rates released by the federal government. According to Dr Coates, these confirm the April findings of the Australasian Survey of Student Engagement (AUSSE) that as many as one in three students across the country seriously considers leaving university during their first year of study.

Dr Coates, who is also Director of AUSSE, said the student engagement survey had revealed startling statistics about students’ study intentions but had also provided universities key information to help them better support, engage and retain students through to graduation.

“Collecting feedback from students themselves is beneficial in that it provides key insights into what university students are actually doing,” Dr Coates said.

“AUSSE provides insights that can help universities better support student learning and development, monitor academic standards and outcomes and ensure students are getting the most out of their university experience.

“This information is vital to improving student engagement and retention through to graduation.

“AUSSE provides information that is imperative to ensuring the quality and productivity of the higher education system.”

The results of the 2008 AUSSE, released in April, showed that on average, 33 per cent of students surveyed said they had considered leaving their institutions before graduation.

The 2009 administration of AUSSE, which took place earlier this year, surveyed more than 30,000 students from 35 Australian and New Zealand universities. Reports on individual universities’ performance in the 2009 AUSSE were released to institutions earlier this month and analysis of results will be released early next year.

AUSSE is developed and managed by ACER and was designed to stimulate evidence-focused conversations about students’ engagement in university study.

For more information about AUSSE, or to view previous years’ survey results, visit