Notes on the data: Education

School leavers enrolled in higher education, 2016


Policy context:  Education increases opportunities for choice of occupation and for income and job security, and also equips people with the skills and ability to control many aspects of their lives – key factors that influence wellbeing throughout the life course. Young people who complete Year 12 are more likely to make a successful initial transition to further education, training and work than early leavers [1]. The acquisition of a non-school qualification increases work and employment opportunities and increases the likelihood of a financially secure future.


  1. McMillan J, Marks GN. School leavers in Australia: profiles and pathways. (Research report no. 31). Camberwell, Victoria: Australian Council for Educational Research, 2003.

Notes:  The data comprise school leavers who are identified as enrolled at an Australian university at 31 March 2016. ‘School leavers’ are students who attained a Year 12 qualification in 2015 in any State/ Territory through the completion of one or more Year 12 courses; may include (unless noted otherwise below) adult students, part time students and students doing one or more subjects to improve their overall score (repeating students).

The Estimated Resident Population is based on the number of 17 year olds in 2015, as this is the age of the majority of Year 12 students at 30 June 2015.

Data for 2013 are available at the Local Government Area level in the Data Archive.

Variations in data between States

Definitions vary across the States and Territories, however, the impact of any differences is considered to be small. The only difference of note is:

  • Data for The University of Notre Dame Australia campuses in WA and NSW, comprise all students who used their high school results for entry; hence, numbers include some school leavers from 2014. Data are accurate for date of extraction rather than enrolment at 31 March 2016.

For more information, please consult the relevant admissions centre as listed in the Source below.


Geography: Data available by Population Health Area, Local Government Area, Primary Health Network, Quintiles and Remoteness Areas

Numerator:  School leavers who are identified as enrolled at an Australian university at 31 March 2016


Denominator:  Estimated Resident Population aged 17 years at 30 June 2015 (to be updated when 2016 population is available)


Detail of analysis:  Per cent


Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on data from the:

  1. Universities Admissions Centre (NSW & ACT), Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre, South Australian Tertiary Admission Centre (SA & NT), Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (WA), The University of Notre Dame Australia (WA & NSW), the University of Tasmania; and
  2. ABS Estimated Resident Population, 30 June 2015.

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