The Student Sentiment Index

The Student Sentiment Index

The student sentiment index (SSI) is an indicator designed to measure student sentiment, which is defined as the degree of optimism/positivity that prospective students exhibit toward the education system, and their personal educational ambitions.

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.


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  • Education stakeholders could not use outdated data in making future business decisions.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.

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

How it works

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 four key sub-indices – Student Urgency, Motivation, Sensitivity to Funding options and Confidence in the sector. 

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.

The four sub-indices

Understanding the sentiments of prospective students can be complex. To help with this, we’ve created four distinct sub-indices that work together to create deeper insights into this segment.

Urgency Index copy 1

Student Urgency Index

Measures how quickly students wish to commence their study.

Find out more
Confidence Index copy

Student Confidence Index

Measures how confident prospective students are in our education system.

Funding Index copy

Sensitivity to Funding Index

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

Find out more

Motivation Index copy

Student Motivation Index

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

Increased student sentiment across the indices indicates an overall healthier education sector, where prospective students are more likely to act on their desire to engage in further education.

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 a greater scope of insights into our education sector.
  • Use insights to refine marketing operations. The data will help determine which student segments to target and which messages are important to them.
  • Use insights to optimise current business products and services that align with student needs.
  • Develop accurate forecasts for future planning.

Policy Developers

  • Receive real time insights on 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.

Explore our yearly publications

As part of the Student Sentiment Index, we’ve published a series of articles that explore the sub-indices in more depth, providing greater insights to demographic influences.


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?

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?

females sensitive 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?


Coming soon…

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