Home' The Good Universities Guide : The Good Universities Guide 2017 Contents 36 GOOD UNIVERSITIES GUIDE
Equity refers to equal access and outcomes for students who
have traditionally been under-represented at university. Six target
groups are nationally recognised as experiencing disadvantage in
their access to education:
people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent
people with disabilities
people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
people from rural and isolated areas
people from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds
women in non-traditional study.
Research suggests that the key to raising the participation of low-
income students is to get them into university in the first place
and they will thrive once they are there. The federal government’s
Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program
(HEPPP) aims to ensure that Australians from low socioeconomic
backgrounds have the opportunity to study at university. It
provides funding that allows universities to implement strategies
to improve access to undergraduate courses and retain students
from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Most higher education providers have equity and access
programs that aim to encourage and support students from target
groups to successfully complete their studies. The following are
just some of the measures taken to ensure the participation of
prospective students who experience disadvantage in access to
Many institutions offer schemes that encourage members of the
community to consider higher education, often targeting
prospective students who attend selected partner schools or who
live in regional or low socioeconomic areas. Outreach schemes
may include school visits, community events, workshops or
classes on the institution’s campus, immersion camps, special
entry schemes, support programs and scholarship opportunities.
A range of equity and access scholarships are available through
the federal government as well as from individual institutions and
other organisations. Some scholarships are automatically offered
to eligible students through the Department of Human Services.
Read more on page 40.
Many higher education providers offer alternative entry schemes
for disadvantaged students. These allow students to gain access
to courses via non-traditional pathways (for instance, without
completing their secondary education).
This may involve completing a bridging or foundation program
designed for students who have experienced educational
disadvantage or who lack the formal qualifications to enter their
preferred course. There are also special entry schemes that grant
disadvantaged students special consideration or add bonus
points to their tertiary entrance scores for entry into certain
courses, including students who have faced difficulty during their
secondary school studies or who have attended a school with
typically low tertiary study participation.
Ask your higher education provider about its pathway and special
Assistance while you are studying
Many higher education providers have general learning
skills units available for all students, as well as academic
support programs tailored to students from the various
equity groups. They run seminars on topics such as essay
writing, exam preparation, academic English, and study and
organisational skills. Indigenous support centres are in
place at many institutions and aim to support Indigenous
students — both academically and socially — as well as
further developing Indigenous academic studies and
providing an Indigenous presence on campus.
Students with disabilities can also expect equal access to all
parts of university life. Many institutions have disability
liaison officers or teams that organise specialised
equipment, note-takers, volunteer readers and peer support
Additional help is usually available during assessment
periods, as well as at the beginning of each academic
semester to help students settle into tertiary study.
GUG 2017.book Page 36 Friday, June 24, 2016 2:22 PM
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