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In November 2016 the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham asked the Higher Education Standards Panel (the Panel) to examine:
- the trends and factors driving completions and attrition
- the adequacy of existing data on completions and attrition and improvements that can enhance transparency and institutional accountability
- strategies institutions can pursue to support student success and course completion in higher education
- ways in which the identification of students at risk of non-completion, and the adoption of evidence - based support strategies to maximise their opportunity to succeed, can be systematically embedded in provider practice.
There have been claims that there is a crisis in attrition rates in Australian higher education. In September 2016, following the release of 2015 student data by the Department of Education and Training (the department), media reports stated that high attrition rates are symptomatic of poor admission standards; the lower a student’s Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) the greater the risk of non-completion; and as a result of the demand driven system, higher student numbers are leading to greater numbers of student drop-outs.