New research — Calculating the costs of supporting people with disability in Australian higher education
Research published today explores how the Australian Government and universities are investing funds and resources to support the inclusion of people with disability in higher education.
Led by Associate Professor Tim Pitman from Curtin University and funded by the NCSEHE, the research team also examined what institutions doing to enable successful higher education participation for people with disability.
Key findings included:
- Funding for students with disability provided through multiple streams.
- Excluding the funding for ADCET, in 2019 the combined Additional Support for Students with Disabilities (ASSD) and Disability Performance Funding (DPF) components averaged $104 per student with disability or $157 per equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL).
- Institutional funding ranged from as low as $23 per student/$32 per EFTSL, to as high as $347 per student/$466 per EFTSL.
- Levels of Australian Government funding for disability support is not correlated with increased participation, study mode nor improved retention for students with disability.
Recommendations for the Australian Government include:
- a holistic review of the participation of students with disability to ensure that higher education is free from discrimination, aligned with the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and Disability Standards for Education (2005)
- independent audit of higher education providers to quantify the financial investment being made in supporting students with disability
- requirement for higher education providers to adopt consistent reporting frameworks for describing equity goals and performance, inclusive of activities that enable the participation of students with disability and that quantify financial investment in equity and disability.
This research was conducted under the NCSEHE Research Grants Program, funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.