Equity in Higher Education

Year: 2016

Author: Luckman, Michael, Szalkowicz, Giovanna, Edwards, Daniel, Wilson, Jacqueline, Mestan, Kemran

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Since the release of the Bradley Review in 2008 there has been a renewed focus on student equity outcomes in higher education. The subsequent implementation of both the demand driven system of undergraduate student funding and the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme (HEPPP) has resulted in slow but steady improvement in the participation rates of most student equity groups at undergraduate level. However, there has been comparatively little attention on disadvantaged student outcomes at the postgraduate level over this same period; this is despite a growing body of research which shows postgraduate student equity outcomes are significantly inferior to those of undergraduate students. In our presentation we will examine equity participation rates and measures of student achievement at postgraduate level to shed further light on this issue. Furthermore, the existence of the bifurcated postgraduate funding system, where some students are subsidised by the Commonwealth government and others pay full fees, will allow us to explore the potential impact of higher fees on student equity outcomes.