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2018 Research Fellow Maria Raciti – Project Progress Bulletin

How the perceived risk of going to university influences the decision to participate in Australian higher education by people from low SES backgrounds.

Associate Professor Maria Raciti (University of the Sunshine Coast)

Welcome to the first project progress bulletin. The project commenced on 1 February, and this bulletin provides an update on the progress to date. I will continue to share updates as key milestones are reached. It is an honour and a privilege to be a NCSEHE Research Fellow. The journey thus far has been truly rewarding on many levels. I wish to express (again) my sincere gratitude for this opportunity.

Project overview:

The intention of this project is to increase the proportional representation of people from low socioeconomic (SES) backgrounds in Australian higher education. The project hopes to evolve the now mature ‘barrier and enabler’ widening participation (WP) lens and encourage a shift from practice-led widening participation research to research-led widening participation practice.

In brief, this project:

  • focuses on the role of perceived risks in the decision to go (or not to go) to university for students from low SES backgrounds
  • draws attention to the contemporary career context where traditional ways of planning careers no longer work.

This project is important because:

  • making career decisions is becoming increasingly complex and fraught with risk
  • with more occupations to choose from than ever before (hyperchoice), people may experience confusion or decision paralysis
  • we live in uncertain times with the rise of the gig economy, job automation, career mini-cycles, and an erosion of the sense of security that going to university will ‘guarantee’ access to a defined, stable occupation
  • compounding this situation are predictions that jobs in the future may be more likely to need a university education
  • given low SES participation in higher education is not yet at parity, there is a need to accelerate efforts to prevent the deepening of social inequities.

Continue reading the June Project Progress Bulletin:

Posted 25 June 2018 Posted in Editorial, General, Low SES