Universities Australia commissioned the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at The University of Melbourne to review available literature and data relating to the participation and success of people from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds and Indigenous people in Australian higher education, in both urban and rural/remote areas.
The purpose of the report was to shed light on the factors associated with the persistent underrepresentation of low SES people and Indigenous people in Australian universities, with a view to informing policies and strategies for improvement. The report includes a summary of barriers and inhibiting factors as well as suggestions for possible ways of defining and measuring socioeconomic status for higher education purposes. It also contains a broadbrush summary of the equity activities and initiatives currently undertaken by Australian universities, and a summary of equity policies, programs and trends in selected nations, in particular United Kingdom, USA and Canada.
Universities Australia subsequently released an action plan outlining steps that can be taken to improve equity and participation of students within the current policy framework, as well as research aimed at supporting better evidence-based policy initiatives. The associated media release summarises the action plan.
To read the full report, download the PDF below.