Most of the students who enter university with a lower ATAR are not giving up big opportunities in vocational education, a new report by the Grattan Institute concludes.
Some – but not most – male students with a lower ATAR could be better off with a vocational qualification in a few select fields, the Risks and Rewards report finds.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the latest Grattan report busts the myth that large numbers of people going to university would be better off in VET.
“You hear it said from time to time, but what the evidence actually shows is that university is a strong choice for most students, including many of those who finish high school with a lower ATAR.”
“Another key finding from the report is that more Australians are doing some type of post-school study than ever before,” she said.
“That’s a very good thing. It highlights that Australia needs two strong systems – universities and vocational education – working together to educate the next generations.”
“It’s really important that young Australians have a strong set of options to pursue after they finish high school.”
By 2017, there were around 3.14 million enrolments in all types of vocational education in Australia (just under half of the in Government-funded VET places), and 737,000 students enrolled at university.
The Grattan Institute report notes:
“Most low-ATAR higher education students are not giving up big opportunities in vocational education. Like higher education, vocational education has risks as well as potential reward’.”
“Low ATAR university students … only sometimes have clearly better vocational education alternatives.”
Ms Jackson also noted that a low ATAR can be a sign of disruption during a student’s Year 12 studies or profound disadvantage.
“It doesn’t predict the destiny of every student or their success at university. The vast majority of students who enter university go on to successfully complete their studies.”