Programmes targeting student retention/success and satisfaction/experience in higher education: A systematic review

Publication Name

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management


Inequalities in student enrolment, retention and success for specific demographic groups exist throughout the higher education sector. Although there are numerous and diverse initiatives implemented in universities to support student retention and/or success, experience and/or satisfaction, the feasibility or effectiveness of programs targeting these outcomes has not been systematically explored. The objective of this systematic review was to report the success of interventions or programs delivered in universities specifically targeting improved student outcomes based on published quantitative data. A systematic search of peer-reviewed papers (2009–2019) from four electronic databases (INFROMIT, PROQUEST, EBSCO and SCOPUS) was conducted. Most of the 55 studies included targeted 1st year undergraduate students from varied disciplines. The positive findings relating to student retention and academic success, and student satisfaction and experience reported in this review are promising. The review concludes by outlining implications for higher education providers seeking to determine institutional policies on investment in student retention and experience interventions.

Open Access Status

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Link to publisher version (DOI)