News & Events

Equity Scholarship Provision and Impacts: A Meta-Analytic Review

Recent conversation has focused on higher education participation and completion for students from low-SES backgrounds. The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education supports positive and practical measures with demonstrable benefits in supporting equity students, notably the provision of equity scholarships.

This review, commissioned by NCSEHE and originally published in Facilitating Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE, 2016), informed policy on the provision and administration of scholarships by Australian universities, as well as the impact on recipients.

Equity Scholarship Provision and Impacts: A Meta-Analytic Review

Professor Gail Whiteford & Professor Sue Trinidad

Australian universities provide equity scholarships to new and continuing students as a standard practice. The equity scholarships that are made available across universities vary in amount and duration and also in stated eligibility criteria. A process through which eligibility is determined and through which the scholarships are administered, also varies significantly from institution to institution. Until relatively recently, there has been little data available which reflects both institutional practice(s) in the provision of equity scholarships and the impacts on the recipients – the students – of these scholarships. This is an issue of concern for funders and providers alike given that the aggregated number of scholarships offered has, in an uncapped and HEPPP funded context, raised significantly in the period between 2009 and 2016. Addressing the range of issues associated with an uncapped environment is currently the focus of the newly formed Higher Education Standards Panel (HESP, 2016).

As part of its national mandate to highlight and address issues pertaining to student equity in Australia, the NCSEHE has commissioned a review of four recent Australian studies focussed on equity scholarships. The purpose of this review is to:

  1. Identify which scholarship architectures are most appropriate;
  2. Determine which equity students — relative to need – benefit most from scholarships;
  3. What the threshold amounts for scholarships are that have most impact; and
  4. Identify best institutional practice for administering scholarships.

Based on this analysis, the review aims to also posit recommendations with respect to:

  1. Policy – for funders and providers;
  2. Institutional administration of equity scholarships; and
  3. Future research priorities.


Read the full report here.

Cover image: Equity Scholarship Provision and Impacts

Posted 9 February 2017 Posted in General, Low SES