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In The News… New Higher Education Bill Mandates Proactive Student Support for Australian Universities 

Education Minister Jason Clare has introduced a new higher education bill that aims to improve student outcomes in Australian universities. The Higher Education Support Amendment Bill 2023, in response to the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report, requires that all higher education providers have and follow a policy that specifies how they will support their students to achieve academic success. This policy should also outline a proactive approach to student support including in identifying and assisting students who are struggling with their studies.  

However, the bill also includes a compliance mechanism, where providers must report to the Minister on their adherence to the policy or face a penalty of $18,000 if they fail to do so. The release of the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report last month highlighted the need for better student support in higher education. 

“Support for student success and monitoring of student progress is expected of a modern, quality higher education provider.”

Jason ClareEducation Minister

Some of the areas the new higher education bill will cover include: 

  • Processes for identifying students who need help
  • Assessing a student’s academic and non-academic suitability for continuing study, particularly where they have triggered an alert
  • Connecting students to support—and identifying students who are not engaging with support
  • Providing sufficient non-academic supports for students, such as financial assistance, housing information and mental health supports
  • Providing access to trained academic development advisers who can help a student identify what’s holding them back and come up with the right response for that student
  • Proactively offering ‘special circumstances’ arrangements where a provider is aware of a significant life event for a student
  • Providing provider-driven and evidence-based additional support such as peer support
  • Providing targeted in-course support from academic staff, such as check-ins and flexibility on assessment arrangements
Universities Accord Bill mandates Student Support Policy

The Australian Universities Accord Interim Report, released last month recommended improved student support policy in Higher Education.

The Best Student Support Solutions for Australian Universities 

A proactive student support policy and culture requires a combination of innovative student success technologies. The most effective strategies include data analytics and early alert workflows, which help identify and assist students who may be struggling or at-risk of dropping out of university. Thus, to comply with the new higher education bill and the Universities Accord recommendations, Australian Universities should consider the following strategies.

Data or learning analytics help higher education institutions support the whole student. They can collect data from over 50 student touch points and generate valuable and actionable insights. These insights also help universities understand the learning patterns, challenges and achievements of individual students and the student body as a whole. This is essential for developing an institution-wide, student support and success strategy. 

Early alert workflows add additional value to these data-driven insights by enabling Australian universities to intervene early and reduce student dropouts. Furthermore, they trigger timely and appropriate interventions and support for students who need them.   

Better student support with case management software

To enhance their student support strategy and comply with Minister Clare’s new higher education bill, Australian universities should also consider case management software. This technology tracks students’ progress and outcomes after interventions and referral to support services.

Furthermore, this enhances the effectiveness of the whole support cycle. From tracking student progress with early identification and timely intervention, to the dedicated case management system, which automates outreach and ensures students get the support they need. 

The combination of these solutions also simplify compliance reporting on student support effectiveness. All support activities, interventions and outreach are logged within each student’s profile and these can be exported in bulk to satisfy compliance requirements. In addition, Australian universities can generate valuable insights to proactively improve service delivery and also inform retention policies going forward.   

 To learn more about how SEAtS may be able to help your institution implement the above student support strategies, please contact us or book in a demo here.