The Higher Education Partnerships and Participation Program (HEPPP) is an effective initiative. It has helped drive an historic increase in university participation by people from low SES backgrounds and other under-represented groups.
Higher education access and equity is a long-term issue, and long-term solutions are needed. Government and universities should acknowledge and celebrate the gains made so far, and redouble efforts to make further improvements. HEPPP has only been in operation for six years.
Changing course now – by abolishing HEPPP, cutting it further, or changing it into a radically different scheme – would be highly counterproductive. Improving access and equity is difficult and gradual, but essential if we are to be taken seriously when we say we offer a fair chance to all. Successful programs like HEPPP should be retained and improved.
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