The Student Urgency Index

A subindex of the Student Sentiment Index (SSI)

The Student Urgency Index

A Sub-indice of the Student Sentiment Index (SSI)

The Student Urgency Index measures how quickly students wish to commence their studies. The Urgency Index is important in uncovering how demographic attributes in prospective students, such as age, location and gender, have an impact on the need to commence study.

Key Insights From the Student Urgency Index

When we delve deeper into the insights the Student Urgency Index provides, we see that distinct demographic data plays an important role on the need to begin study.

Key Takeaways:

  • A Student’s location is highly important on their urgency to study
  • Older age groups, especially those over 44 years show the strongest urgency

What is the Student Urgency Index?

The Student Urgency Index forms part of the overall Student Sentiment Index (SSI). It measures how quickly students wish to commence their studies. A higher Student Urgency Index indicates a stronger need to begin study.

The Student Urgency Index contains over 2 years of data, where responses to questions have been analysed to measure how quickly students wish to enrol in a course and start their study over time. There are 4 individual indices that form a part of the overall SSI, and Urgency is just one of these.


Since we have been collecting data, there has been an overall positive growth trend of student urgency, close to 10% YoY. This suggests that, amongst the prospective student population in Australia (all respondents have expressed a desire to start studying within a 24 month period), there is an increasing urgency to begin studying.

There is also close alignment between the Urgency Index and the growth of marketplace enquiries across the Candlefox Network. This also supports the claim that with increasing urgency to begin studying, the number of prospective students looking for courses also increases.

In both the short and long term, the Student Urgency Index can be used as a future indication of future spikes in interest amongst prospective students and an increase in the need to pursue education.

What Role Does Location Play on Urgency?


Location plays a significant role in someone’s urgency to begin studying. Prospective students in Victoria and New South Wales show a greater enthusiasm to begin study compared to other states and territories.

While this could be an indication of a highly qualified workforce in these states, and an increasing need to upskill to meet employment requirements; it has shown a slow increase compared to Queensland and Western Australia. These two states in particular are showing a strong increase in urgency to begin study, with the trend set to continue.

The changing nature of the funding landscape for vocational education in Australia will most certainly have an impact of state based behaviours and sentiments in the future. In a previous article on funding sensitivity, we noted that funding availability and accessibility to funding has a big impact on behaviours and attitudes towards the education system. Our Funding Sensitivity Index will provide further insights on this topic.


The Impact of Age on Urgency

The Student Urgency Index has also highlighted changing needs in different age groups to begin study. While those aged 18-24 and 25-34 have always shown a strong tendency to begin studying, over the past 18 months, the older age groups have started to display a stronger urgency to study. The 44+ age bracket has shown very strong growth since the commencement of the Student Urgency Index, which can provide a unique opportunity to stakeholders in the education sector to shift focus away from school-leavers.

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The strong enthusiasm to begin study among mature aged students could largely be fueled by the need to upskill, especially in areas of IT, to keep up with the shifting demands from the workforce.

The Candlefox Marketplace has a particularly strong demographic segment of career changers (43%) as well as up-skillers (23%). The uptake of short courses and microcredentials allows prospective students to quickly upskill in areas they need for career progression and to secure employment.

Organisations are looking at how to reskill and upskill their workforce, either through internal professional development or through external qualifications and training.


This trend also reflects a trend that is beginning to be addressed across the industry as a whole, according to PWC, Organisations are looking at how to reskill and upskill their workforce, either through internal professional development or through external qualifications and training.

There is a movement towards recruiting workforces through more diverse routes: internships, apprenticeships, learning and development pathways, developing internal academies and working much more closely with universities and education institutions.

In the Long Term

The Student Urgency Index helps us understand the behaviours and attitudes of the prospective student population. As a real-time, leading indicator, it can hopefully provide immediate insights into policy changes, funding arrangements and the health of the Australian education sector.

Will we continue to see student urgency rise over time? Perhaps the propensity to study will increase as we witness slow wage growth and economic uncertainty in Australia. The ABS wage price index shows us that wage growth is now growing at a faster rate than inflation, but there could still be a fear of economic turmoil within the workforce and prospective student population.

With this uncertainty, it could be said that Australian are turning to further education, across the vocational and higher education sectors, to boost their chances of success in uncertain times.

For up to date insights and data on the Student Sentiment Index, Get in Touch Today!

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