Invisible fences: Perceived institutional barriers to success for Indigenous university students

Year: 2008

Author: O'Rourke, Virginia

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Despite the landmark achievements of a number of Indigenous people in Australia, the overall educational disadvantage of this population relative to the non-Indigenous population still remains, none more so than in the higher education sector. This paper presents the findings of a study investigating factors related to the performance and retention of Indigenous Australian students at University. Its focus is the perceived institutional barriers that hinder Indigenous students attaining success at the tertiary level. A qualitative research design was adopted with 36 participants in an Australian university. It was found that there are multiple perceived institutional barriers to achievement, and a lack of strategies to negotiate these in tertiary studies for Indigenous students.