Student support services influential on RTO choice

Media release

8 August 2023

The latest research from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) has found that the availability of student support services has some influence on students when choosing registered training organisations (RTOs).

The Drivers of student training choices – a focus on student support services report found that RTOs who offer student support services are more highly considered by students as a training provider of choice than RTOs who do not offer support services.

The report found the availability of student support services is considered just as important by all students as it is for students from equity groups.

Students stated they are also willing to pay additional costs to access various student support services, including tailored one-on-one support or group sessions.

Whilst student support services have some influence on students’ choice of RTO, course costs are the main driver of student training choices, followed by travel time and course delivery mode.

NCVER Managing Director Simon Walker said, “Although the availability of student support services is not as strong an influence on student training choices as cost, it is clear that student support services are important for students when choosing an RTO”.

“To help students with their training choices, RTOs could benefit from promoting available student support services online, including what services are available for all students”.


Drivers of student training choices – a focus on student support services investigates the influence of student support service offerings on students’ choice of training provider and how they compare with other drivers of student choice, for example, course cost, delivery mode and travel time. In particular, the research focuses on health and welfare support, career counselling and job-search support, and tutoring and guidance on study skills.

The research was conducted by manually scraping a random sample of 100 RTO websites and their social media and MySkills pages. The information from RTO websites informed the design of a discrete choice experiment, with a sample of 650 participants between the ages of 16 and 64. This is one of the first Australian VET research investigations to use a discrete choice experiment to explore drivers of student training choices and to focus on student support services.

Download the report: Drivers of student training choices – a focus on student support services

Enquiries: Chantal Deutrom P: +61 8 8230 8418 E:

About NCVER: we are the main provider of research, statistics and data on Australia’s VET sector. Our services help promote better understanding of VET and assist policy makers, practitioners, industry, training providers, and students to make informed decisions.

This work has been produced by NCVER on behalf of the Australian Government and state and territory governments, with funding provided through the Australian Government Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.