The Australian Centre for Student Equity and Success acknowledges Indigenous peoples as the Traditional Owners of the lands on which our campuses are situated. With a history spanning 60,000 years as the original educators, Indigenous peoples hold a unique place in Australia. We recognise the importance of their knowledge and culture, and reflect the principles of participation, equity, and cultural respect in our work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future, and consider it an honour to learn from our Indigenous colleagues, partners, and friends.

You are reading: Interrogating relationships between student support initiatives and Indigenous student progression

Written by Bep Uink1, Rebecca Bennett1, Braden Hill2, Chanelle van den Berg1, Justine Rolfe1

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (henceforth Indigenous ) students are enrolling in university degrees at historically high rates; however, the majority of these students are not completing their qualifications. The latest available national statistics show that the national average six-year Bachelor completion rate for Indigenous university students is 41 percent. This is compared to 63 percent for non-Indigenous students and 56 percent for Low SES cohorts, not separated by Indigenous indicators (DET, 2019). This statistical discrepancy thus signals a substantial gap between intention and achievement of a university degree for Indigenous students. This enrolment-completion gap leaves open the questions as to what supports are available to Indigenous undergraduate students, and how likely are they to access them? While previous research has examined individual characteristics of Indigenous students in relation to degree completion rates (e.g., Shalley et al., 2019), this project shifts focus from individual students to universities to explore the efficacy of the support services that universities offer in terms of Indigenous student success.

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1Murdoch University
2Edith Cowan University