The Student Sentiment Index (SSI) is a leading indicator measuring student sentiment within our education sector – the degree of optimism or positivity that prospective students exhibit towards commencing study.

Designed to be used by employers, industry bodies and governments, the Index provides insights that can influence future decisions in course creation and delivery, marketing and sales operations and more.


Understanding the sentiments, motivations and behaviours of prospective students is invaluable to anyone operating in the education sector in Australia. Our Student Sentiment Index reflects how prospective students are feeling, which is of even greater importance to education stakeholders than data about existing and past students.

Zig van der Sluys
Chief Executive Officer

Why we created the Index

We created the Student Sentiment Index to provide our education sector with enrolment data in real time.

Prior to 2016, we noticed a surge in demand for data on prospective students and their perceived attitudes towards our education system.

Although there were several reputable data sources, we identified a number of gaps with these indicators that we believed we could fill with our Index.

  • Data from existing indicators were not independently collected.
  • Existing indicators did not provide data in real time. Government data collections were typically 12 months or older at the time of their release.
  • Education stakeholders could not use outdated data in making future business decisions.
  • There was no data collected on how government policies impact prospective students’ willingness to study.

Changes in the sector impact the operations of many different stakeholders. The Index illustrates the impact of economic, social and political factors on the health of our education sector. The data from our Index can also help government and education providers shape policies, strategic decisions and operations to suit prospective students who are looking to pursue further education.

How it works

Understanding the sentiments of prospective students can be complex. To help with this, we’ve created four distinct sub-indices – Student Urgency, Motivation, Sensitivity to Funding and Confidence – that work together to create deeper insights into this student segment.

These sub-indices help measure how healthy our education sector is. An overall increase in student sentiment indicates a healthy education sector, where prospective students are more likely to pursue further education.

Urgency Index copy 1

Student Urgency Index

Measures how quickly students wish to commence their study.

Funding Index copy

Sensitivity to Funding Index

Measures how changes to funding arrangements affect prospective students’ decision to study.

Confidence Index copy

Student Confidence Index

Measures how confident prospective students are in our education system.

Motivation Index copy

Student Motivation Index

Measures how likely prospective students are to commence study within the next 12 months.

Who we surveyed

The Student Sentiment Index has been an ongoing data collection project that has been in effect since 2016. Responses are gathered monthly where each question is weighed proportionally against the four key sub-indices.

The Index uses a quasi-representative survey to capture insights. This method of data collection uses mobile technology to gather responses from an audience pool representative of the prospective students looking to study. 

Our Index works by:

  • Collating survey responses monthly.
  • Collecting responses from prospective students considering study within the next 12 months.
  • Ensuring respondents are Australian citizens and over 18 years of age.

Who should use the Index?

The Student Sentiment Index is highly relevant to anyone working, operating or delivering education in Australia — from education providers, policy developers and government bodies, to industry and research associations.

The Student Sentiment Index will continue to deliver benefits for a range of stakeholders.

Education Providers

  • Receive insights on specific student segments and their enrolment behaviours.
  • Use insights to maximise craft marketing messages that resonate with students.
  • Use insights to optimise current products and services that align with student needs.
  • Develop accurate forecasts for future planning.

Policy Developers

  • Receive real time insights of the impacts policy changes have on prospective students.
  • Use insights to refine or create new policies, including funding arrangements.


  • Receive real time insights to the health of our education sector.
  • Use insights to identify areas where our education sector may be falling short and seek opportunities for improvement.

Research Bodies

  • Receive an additional, independent data source to complement existing data collection.
  • Use insights to identify areas where our education sector may be falling short and seek opportunities for improvement.

The SSI is a great resource for marketing and sales operations. The insights from our indices enable stakeholders to determine which student segments to target, what messages are important to them and how to best funnel them through the nurture journey.

Explore our yearly publications

As part of the Student Sentiment Index, we publish a series of articles that unpack each sub-index in more depth – providing a greater scope of insights for our stakeholders.

Explore our recent publications below.


over 40 landing

12 Jun 2018

Forget School Leavers: Over 40’s Show the Most Urgency to Study

Where further study is involved, do over 40’s have the same urgency to begin their studies as someone who is beginning their career?

Read more

females sensitive landing

3 Aug 2018

Are Females More Sensitive to Funding Options When it Comes to Studying?

Do males and females react differently to funded courses? Are females more dependent on financial aid?

Read more

free tafe hero landing

3 Aug 2018

Victoria Reacts to Free TAFE – The Impact on Prospective Students

How do funding initiatives affect the decision-making processes of prospective students?

Read more


SSI Women

31 May 2021

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Women’s Employment and Education

How has the pandemic disrupted women’s work and education opportunities?

Read more

SSI Young People

8 Jun 2021

Young People, COVID-19 and its Toll on Study

How have mass job losses, travel restrictions and mental health concerns impacted young Australians and their education goals?

Read more

SSI Funding

15 Jun 2021

Australia’s Response to National Education Funding Schemes

How have higher financial anxiety and stress contributed to a bigger appetite for government-funded courses? 

Read more


SSI 2021 post covid blog

18 May 2022

Student Sentiment Post-COVID: ‘Urgency to Study at an All Time Low’

What do learner ambition and academic progress look like post-COVID-19?

Read more

SSI five year analysis blog

31 May 2022

A Five Year Analysis of Student Sentiment in Australia (2017 – 2021)

How has student sentiment changed over five years, and what trends may arise?

Read more

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