Higher education worldwide has expanded its intake to attract a more diverse student enrolment in order to achieve both social equity and the economic imperatives driving an innovative knowledge-based economy. To engage with this newly diverse population, universities have had to alter their responses to admission and retention processes (Bawa, 2016; Higher Education Standards Panel, 2017b). The national figures hide considerable differences in admission, retention and success among Australian universities (Higher Education Standards Panel, 2017b; O’Shea, 2018). Those differences can be expected to be due to a range of factors: the makeup of the low socio-economic status (SES) student cohort (student characteristics); admissions criteria; student preparation and support programs before and/or during study; and other university-specific factors relating to pedagogy of learning and teaching and/or non-academic supports. The need for an exploration of the complexities and nuances around the reasons why such issues occur for low SES students is therefore vital to avoid the loss of such a diverse and necessary student population (Becker, 2008; Edwards, 2008; Gale & Tranter, 2011).
In response, universities have put in place many programs, as well as entry and ongoing processes, to begin to tackle the “wicked problem” of high attrition/low retention rates of students identified as low SES when they enter university (Beer & Lawson, 2018; Campbell & Narayan, 2017). This project will seek to provide an analysis of such initiatives in four select Australian universities to help improve success rates for low-SES and disadvantaged students.
Department of Education, Skills and Employment
Publication titleAdmission and success for low SES university students: Report on a HEPPP 2018 National Priorities Pool Project
EditorsD Kember & RA Ellis
Department/SchoolFaculty of Education
PublisherDepartment of Education, Skills and Employment, Australian Federal Government
Place of publicationCanberra, Australia
Rights statementCopyright 2022 The Authors