Attrition Rate

Attrition rate is a measure of the proportion of students leaving the higher education system after their first year.

The department publishes two types of attrition rates, Normal and Adjusted:

  1. Normal Attrition rate:

    The Normal Attrition rate for year(x) is the proportion of students who commenced a course in year(x) who neither complete in year(x) nor return in year(x + 1).

    The normal attrition rate calculation is based on a match process using the students' StudentID. This gives a "crude" attrition rate, which identifies students that neither complete a course nor are retained the following year at the same institution. Students who remained at the same institution, but changed course are not counted in the attrition group. Students who changed institution are counted as attrited.

  2. New Normal Attrition rate:

    The New Normal Attrition rate for year(x) is the proportion of students who commenced a course in year(x) who neither complete in year(x) or year(x + 1) nor return in year(x + 1).

    The normal attrition rate calculation is based on a match process using the students' StudentID. This gives a "crude" attrition rate, which identifies students that neither complete a course nor are retained the following year at the same institution. Students who remained at the same institution, but changed course are not counted in the attrition group. Students who changed institution are counted as attrited.

  3. Adjusted Attrition rate:

    The Adjusted Attrition rate for year(x) is the proportion of students who commenced a course in year(x) who neither complete in year(x) nor return in year(x + 1).

    The adjusted attrition rate calculation is similar to the normal attrition rate calculation however it is based on a match process using both the StudentID and the Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN). This gives a more accurate attrition rate calculation, as it identifies students at either the same or a different higher education institution. In other words, if a student moves from one institution to another in the following year, he or she would be counted as retained in the adjusted attrition rate calculation, but attrited in the normal attrition rate calculation. For the adjusted attrition rate, it is only those students who left the higher education system entirely (that is, they were no longer at any institution) that are counted as attrited.

  4. New Adjusted Attrition rate:

    The New Adjusted Attrition rate for year(x) is the proportion of students who commenced a course in year(x) who neither complete in year(x) or year(x + 1) nor return in year(x + 1).

    The new adjusted attrition rate calculation is similar to the normal attrition rate calculation however it is based on a match process using both the StudentID and the Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number (CHESSN). This gives a more accurate attrition rate calculation, as it identifies students at either the same or a different higher education institution. In other words, if a student moves from one institution to another in the following year, he or she would be counted as retained in the adjusted attrition rate calculation, but attrited in the normal attrition rate calculation. For the adjusted attrition rate, it is only those students who left the higher education system entirely (that is, they were no longer at any institution) that are counted as attrited.

How does the department calculate new attrition rate?

The Attrition rate calculation involves four components – commencing students, completing students in year (x), completing students in year (x + 1) and returning students.

  • commencing students – students who have enrolled in a course at a higher education provider with a commencement date in year (x)
  • returning students – commencing students who have an enrolment record in year (x + 1) and have no completion record in year (x)
  • completing students in year (x) – commencing students who have a completion record in year (x)
  • completing students in year (x + 1) – commencing students who have a completion record in year (x + 1) and no enrolment record in year (x + 1)

Example:

  • Commencing students = 150
  • Completing students in year (x) = 25
  • Completing students in year (x + 1) = 5
  • Returning students = 105

Attrition rate in year (x) = 100 x (Year (x) commencing students - Year (x) completing students - Year (x + 1) completing students - Year (x + 1) returning students) / Year (x) commencing students

The attrition rate for year (x)
  • = 100 x (150 - 25 - 5 - 105) / 150
  • = 100 x 15 / 150
  • = 10%

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This glossary item applies to the collection types:
  • Higher Education Student Collection