Joining the Dots (JTD)

Shifting students : regional mobility of undergraduates in Australia.

Daniel Edwards, ACER
Eva van der Brugge, ACER


This Joining the Dots (JTD) Research Briefing explores the mobility of university students in Australia using Census data to track the movement of current students over a five year period. The data captured in this analysis provide a unique insight into the mobility of the student population in Australia, and allow us to examine the potential impact of internal migration on student populations in Australia. The research focuses on undergraduate university students in 2011 who were undertaking undergraduate studies and who resided in Australia in 2006. It uses Census data to identify their address in 2011 and their address in 2006. Based on these two addresses, a number of analyses are undertaken to explore the movement of this group in the five years between 2006 and 2011. Moving home to attend university is not ingrained in the Australian psyche as it is in systems such as the USA and the UK. Nevertheless, some students do move and it is interesting to explore the patterns of this movement. For some people, such as those in remote areas, it is inevitable. These data show that as well as movement among this group, there is also movement within and between cities. While it is the intention of this work to identify patterns of student mobility, it is hoped that the information may help expand further research into the issues surrounding movement, including university choice, barriers to study and motivations for inter-city movement among students. [Author abstract]