Universities Australia will commission a study into equity and access to universities for low socio-economic status students, as agreed at its Board meeting today in Canberra.
Chair of the Steering Group established to drive the initiative, Professor Alan Robson said that the study will investigate the levels of participation in university education for students from low socio-economic backgrounds in three categories: Indigenous students, students from rural and remote regions, and students
from metropolitan areas.
"The study will complement the findings of the Australian University Student Finances 2006 survey which found that, on balance, students are worse off in financial terms today than in 2000, especially full-time undergraduate students. This is adversely affecting their capacity to study effectively," Professor Robson said.
"The study will look at the current situation in Australia for students from low socio-economic backgrounds and their access to higher education, and analyse this against international trends.
"It is also time to review the current definition of `low socio-economic status' for its currency in relation to increasing equity and access to university for students," he said.
The study will look at answering and addressing the following key questions:
- do low socio-economic status students have difficulty accessing university due to resources or entryscores?
- what measures have been introduced in Australia and overseas to address the situation?
- what strategies do universities currently utilise to target low socio-economic status students?
The findings will help inform and drive any policy changes needed in Australia to ensure equity and access to university for all eligible students.
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