La Trobe recognised for student support

During a year of major upheaval, anxiety and hardship in 2020, the majority of La Trobe University undergraduate students felt supported by the University, according to latest Government survey results.

The latest Student Experience Survey (SES) results from the Federal Government’s Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT), have shown that for the fourth straight year La Trobe has improved student satisfaction with support services.

In 2020 despite extreme disruption to students studying in Victorian universities La Trobe is one of only two Victorian universities to have improved experience of student support during COVID and saw the greatest improvement of any Victorian university (up 1.2 per cent).

La Trobe Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students), Professor Jessica Vanderlelie said the results were an endorsement of the University’s strong focus on inclusive and flexible support for all students.

“Despite the difficulties encountered by all universities in the face of Covid-19, I’m pleased to see La Trobe’s student support satisfaction levels increase more than any other university in Victoria. This is a testament to incredible work of our staff to innovate our service,” Professor Vanderlelie said.

“The many measures we introduced last year, including moving all our support services online in less than 24 hours, introducing targeted wellbeing support and proactively reaching out to all our students, clearly made a tangible difference to the majority of students who were learning online, living with the pressures of lockdown and often facing financial hardship.”

Initiatives introduced to support students in 2020 included refunding the Student Services and Amenities Fees, allocating more than $4m in bursary payments for those facing financial hardship during the pandemic, providing accommodation rent relief for on-campus residents, not recording fail grades on academic transcripts, providing ready access to wellbeing support, and establishing COVID-safe study spaces for students without access to technology at home.

Professor Vanderlelie said as the University resumes more face-to-face learning at the same time as continuing to provide quality remote learning experiences where required, La Trobe will continue to develop new ways to ensure students remain engaged and supported throughout their time at La Trobe.

The SES results indicated that overall student satisfaction had also improved five places in relation to other Australian universities, with more undergraduate students at La Trobe satisfied with their experience than their counterparts at other Victorian universities – Monash University, RMIT and the University of Melbourne. This pattern continued with La Trobe’s postgraduate cohort.

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