The ACU Student Retention Strategy is focused on identifying whole-of-university approaches to improving student retention and success in alignment with our mission and values.

A student-centred experience

The strategy is student-centred and recognises the student experience from the point of first contact with the University through to graduation. It is designed to address the challenges and opportunities in the student lifecycle, with a focus on admission, learning and teaching, and co-curriculum.

We are aiming to provide our students with a wide range of opportunities for interaction and engagement and to promote a sense of belonging in our community. We believe our goals will be achieved through quality teaching and learning, a supportive academic culture and a student experience that supports excellence.

Measuring our success

The successful implementation of the Student Retention Strategy will be monitored in line with targets from the ACU Strategic Plan 2020 – 2023, including student retention rates, student satisfaction rates and student success rates.

Student participation and academic performance will be monitored to identify students who are at risk of withdrawing and we will be aiming to put appropriate interventions in place. The effectiveness of the strategy and the contributors to retention and success across the student lifecycle will be regularly reviewed.

Our commitment to the Student Retention Strategy is recognised as a University priority and is a responsibility for all staff.

Our six retention focus areas

Retention focus area 1: pathways, admission and transition

We will be engaging students with information, giving them course advice and an opportunity for career planning. Nurturing a culture of belonging will be prioritised and we are aiming to create an environment that promotes student engagement, retention and success.

Retention focus area 2: high-quality, student-centred learning and teaching

Through offering high-quality, student-centred learning and teaching experiences, students will develop academically and in turn, staff will develop an understanding of their students. We will develop a flexible course curriculum that offers options for course transfer within the University or micro-credentialing to obtain recognition at different points of exit.

Retention focus area 3: student academic development, support and co-curricular engagement

Students who have the capacity to succeed in higher education will be given the best chance to complete their studies through the appropriate provision of academic and other support services as required by the Higher Education Standards Framework. Attention will be given to ensuring support services are available to meet the needs of external students who are not regularly attending campus,  recognising they are at a higher risk of not completing their studies.

Retention focus area 4: student health, safety and wellbeing

Services to promote health and personal wellbeing to maintain students’ capacity to study will be made available, and a safe and inclusive environment will be promoted and fostered. A university-wide mental health strategy is also in place to promote services and programs that recognise the complexity and challenges of student life. 

Retention focus area 5: students at risk of exiting or students who have disengaged

Student engagement will be monitored to identify at-risk students, and those who are identified as at risk will be provided with targeted support interventions. Re-engagement opportunities will be offered to students who have discontinued their enrolment from the University (including students who have deferred, are on a leave of absence or have withdrawn).

Retention focus area 6: evidence-based practice and continuous improvement

This strategy is evidence-informed, underpinned by relevant student data and regularly evaluated against indicators and measures of success. The retention, progression and completion performance of courses will be monitored to inform the retention strategy and future interventions, and learnings will be shared across the University.

Explore the strategy in depth

For more information, download the ACU Student Retention Strategy.

Download our strategy (PDF, 6.4MB)

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