The Federal Education and Training Minister has urged students to research where they choose to study if they plan to go to university, as the Federal Government released new data showing university student completion rates have dipped slightly.
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said he encouraged the thousands of prospective uni students being made offers to take advantage of all the information and tools the Federal Government offers to help students “make the right choice, first time” about which universities and courses would help them pursue their dreams.
“Around one in three Australian uni students don’t complete their studies within six years and a key way to boost those numbers is for students to know exactly what they’re signing up for,” Minister Birmingham said.
“We’ve heard too many stories about students who have changed courses, dropped out because they made the wrong choices about what to study, students who didn’t realise there were other entry pathways or who started a course with next to no idea of what they were signing themselves up for.
“To the thousands of students anxiously checking emails, text messages, newspapers and mail boxes this week to learn what your future study options might be, I urge you to take your time to understand those options.
“Students should be looking for feedback on the reputation of the university they want to attend, how well-known they are for particular courses, how satisfied current students are with the resources and teachers on offer and the employment outcomes of graduates from those universities and courses.
“To make university information easily accessible the Federal Government has also committed an additional $8.1 million to the popular Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) website that details all those helpful indicators about university performance.
“QILT is a one-stop shop for students to better understand the university and course options that will help them pick the right courses to land a job or develop skills that will help them after they graduate.”
Minister Birmingham said empowering students was one way the Federal Government was helping students make the right study choices and that QILT complemented university entry transparency reforms announced late in 2016.
“While there will always be a number of students who don’t complete university for a variety of reasons, our ambition to protect both students and taxpayers from a waste of time and money is to keep this number as low as practical,” Minister Birmingham said.
“Following on from our review of enrolment practices, which we are implementing, I have also asked the Higher Education Standards Panel to review attrition and completion rates, to consider what further reforms are required to help lift student success.
“The Federal Government is working with the higher education sector to rollout reforms that put the onus on universities and higher education providers to present comparable information that is easily understood to prospective students.
“We’re making university entry systems more transparent with better defined ATAR thresholds and clearer data on student experiences, outcomes and employment prospects so prospective students and their families have the information they need to match their interests and ambitions with their abilities and needs for their future studies.
“Australians expect full-disclosure from universities so they can make informed choices and the Federal Government is working hard to ensure consistent and clear data and information is easily available.
“I hope students getting offers this week get their first preference for where and what to study and I wish them all the best. However, they should also keep in mind that it’s not too late to change their mind, should they wish to do so after appropriate research and consideration. With the university and course information we’re delivering and the reforms we’re implementing, we’re setting students up for future success from better informed choices.”