Joining the Dots (JTD)


Student demand : trends, key markets and the movement towards demand-driven enrolment

Publication Date



Educational demand, Educational economics, Educational finance, Educational policy, Enrolment, Enrolment influences, Enrolment rate, Enrolment trends, Funding formulas, Policy formation, Undergraduate students, Universities, University students, Higher education, Statistics


(Joining the Dots research briefing ; v.1 n.1)


The landscape of Australian higher education is currently undergoing a substantial reshaping. This is occurring on a number of fronts and for a variety of reasons. One of the key factors reshaping higher education provision in Australia is the policy to implement a demand-driven funding and enrolment system, as stated in Australia's higher education policy blueprint: 'From 2012, Australian public universities ... will be funded for student places on the basis of demand' (Australian Government, 2009). The precise impact of this policy is yet to be fully understood, as are the added complexities of incentives for increasing the proportion of students from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds, high university attainment targets, the introduction of a new quality and standards regulator, and the outcomes of the Base Funding Review. This research briefing explores the introduction of the policy for funding universities based on student demand. It is intended to provide a synthesis of information currently available, but that until now has not been presented cohesively. This briefing offers university leaders and policy makers a resource from which to draw when making planning and strategic decisions. The briefing covers the following areas: an outline of the background to the demand-driven funding policy; trends in student demand over the past decade; national-level enrolments over the past decade; university-level enrolments in 2010 and 2011; and expectations for the future. [Author abstract]

Place of Publication

Melbourne Vic


Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)