Social disadvantage and access to higher education: What potential students don't know and how to address their needs

Year: 2007

Author: Atweh, Bill, Bland, Derek

Type of paper: Refereed paper

There is consistent evidence that access to higher education in Australia remains a function of the students' background including, among other factors, their socioeconomic status, race and Indigeniety. With the demise of many programs that were established in the early 1990s to assist students from underrepresented social groups in higher education to participate in university studies, more research is needed about the barriers to higher education and how can they be avoided. In this paper we discuss learnings about different knowledge needs of high school students from underrepresented groups and suggest ways in which these needs might be met. The observations in this paper arise from our experience with the Student Action Research for University Access (SARUA) project, a collaborative project between high school students, their teachers and staff from the university working together to increase the participation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education.