Victoria Reacts to Free TAFE– The Impact on Prospective Students

Claudia Reiners
October 16, 2018

Victoria Reacts to Free TAFE– The Impact on Prospective Students

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The Sensitivity to Funding Index reveals key insights into the dependency prospective students have on funding options when they consider their education. One of the real advantages of this Index is the ability to see the impact of changes to the sector in real time– such as the Victorian Government’s ‘Free TAFE’ Scheme.

As part of the Student Sentiment Index, the Sensitivity to Funding Index is important in understanding how access to funding impacts the decision making process of prospective students, such as this impact of gender and location–which this article will examine more closely.

Another major take away is the benefit of seeing changes to prospective student’s responses when a change is made to the sector that could influence their decision to study.

Access to Funding Matters

The below chart shows the level of sensitivity each state experiences to funding options, which forms part of the Student Sentiment Index. One interesting insight of this article is how Victoria and Western Australia have the lowest score on the index, which indicates that prospective students in these states are less reliant on funding when they decide to study. On the other hand, the two states which experience the highest sensitivity to funding when it comes to studying are South Australia and Queensland.

Sensitivity to Funding by State

Key Points:

  • Prospective students in South Australia and Queensland are the most sensitive to funding options when studying
  • Victoria and Western Australia are the least effected by access to funding

What we can see in the Index, is that respondents in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland are the most sensitive to funding changes; whereas Victoria and Western Australia are less influenced by this. When we break down the state funding on a per person basis; we see a strong correlation between funding per person (by population) and our Sensitivity to Funding Index.

For example, the Government expenditure for education is the highest proportionally for Victoria and Western Australia, where there’s approximately $185 and $178 of funding available per person, respectively. When we compare this with respondent’s sensitivity to funding, we can see that these states also score the lowest, indicating that, the more accessible funding is to prospective students; the less impact funding has on their decision to pursue a course.

Funding Available Per Person vs. Sensitivity

Key Points:

  • Victoria and WA receive the highest level of Government funding per person
  • The amount of funding available and the Sensitivity to Funding Index have a strong correlation
  • The more funding available, the less funding plays a part on the decision to study

The Impact of Change in Real Time– The Vic Free TAFE Announcement

Another interesting finding that arose in the past two months, was the impact of the ‘Free TAFE Scheme’ announced by the Victorian Government in early June. This initiative provides 50 TAFE courses and apprenticeships free for Victorians and has been widely publicised. One of the advantages of the Student Sentiment Index is that it acts as a leading indicator of overall perception in the sector, whereas other data relevant to the sector is typically released on a yearly basis. So when a change comes about such as the ‘Free TAFE Scheme’, we can see the impact this has on prospective students as it happens.

Victoria Reacts to Free TAFE– Sudden Drop in Funding Dependancy

When analysing the responses following this widely-publicised announcement, what can be seen in the Sensitivity to Funding Index is a 10% drop in the underlying trend for Victoria. This illustrates how changes to the funding landscape can immediately impact the perceived dependence on financial assistance of prospective students. As funding becomes more accessible, which is the case for Victorian TAFE students, we can see this sudden drop in sensitivity.

Victoria Reacts to Free TAFE

Key Points:

  • Victoria experienced a sudden drop in funding sensitivity when the Free TAFE Initiative was announced
  • Other states did not show any change as they were not affected

The Student Sentiment Index is a leading indicator of change in real-time. Subscribe below and stay up to date with future data publications and insights.

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Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy
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