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Towards the point of return: Maximising students' uptake of university places following deferral and leave

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posted on 2022-06-08, 01:42 authored by Andrew HarveyAndrew Harvey, Michael Luckman, Yuan Gao, Matthias Kubler, Wojtek Tomaszewski, Naomi Dempsey, Marcia Davlin, Elizabeth Cook, Braden Hill, Angela Hill, Sue Shore, Alison Reedy, Kathryn Holmes

Deferral and leave-taking behaviour substantially affects enrolment and retention rates across Australian universities. Almost ten per cent of commencing students defer their university offer every year, while over 20 per cent of continuing students take leave from their university within three years of commencing a Bachelor degree. Our research confirms that around one third of deferring students do not return to the university sector. Many more return to the sector but enrol in a different course or university from which they deferred. More worryingly, less than a third of continuing students who take leave subsequently return to study within the next two years. Universities have become more flexible in enabling students to leave, but arguably not as flexible and motivated to accommodate their return.


Publication Date


Commissioning Body

Department of Education, Skills and Employment

Type of report

Not-for-profit research report


La Trobe University

Place of publication

Melbourne, Australia



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