Equity and access

Access to higher education in Victoria under the national demand-driven system

Ellie Newnham, Malcolm Anderson and Richard James (2012)

The findings of this study show that access to higher education in Victoria has opened up significantly, with large increases in the number of applications, offers and enrolments since 2007, the year before the uncapping was first foreshadowed. Demand has been strong. However, persistent imbalances remain in the socio-economic composition of higher education applicants and enrollees. Further, the disparities in access between urban and rural regions remain large and disparities between Melbourne’s metropolitan regions continue to be profound.

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Selection and Participation in Higher Education

Nigel Palmer, Emmaline Bexley and Richard James (2011)

A range of imperatives underpin university selection practices. These include demonstrating merit based on prior academic achievement and supporting successful graduate outcomes in the professions and in broader fields of endeavour. They also include improving diversity of participation and equality of educational opportunity. Selection for admission therefore involves selecting for student characteristics associated with success at university and also for those associated with the desired mix of students. Finally, fair and transparent selection practices are of particular importance in the context of expanded enrolments and also for courses where the number of applications exceeds the number of places available. While a move toward a “demand driven” funding model for undergraduate enrolments in Australia might imply a shift in emphasis from selection to recruitment in university admissions, selection to courses for which there is high demand will remain necessary and the need for measures to help ensure equity of participation will remain.

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