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Socioeconomic status (SES) in Australian higher education is determined using a student’s residential address. The SES of an individual student is proxied by the SES of the area in which they reside, known as the Statistical Area 1 (SA1), which is typically smaller than a postcode.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) uses census data on household educational and occupational status to construct the Socio-Economic Index for Areas – Index of Education and Occupation (SEIFA). Each SA1 in Australia receives a SEIFA score which is standardised against a national mean of 1000. All SA1 areas in Australia are then ranked on the basis of their SEIFA scores. Low SES students are defined as those students who live in the bottom 25 per cent of SA1 areas in this ranking.
Resources relevant to low SES students on the NCSEHE website:
- Effective teaching & support of students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds – Advice for teaching staff, students, and leaders, in addition to resources for professional development purposes to contribute to enhancing the learning and experiences of low SES students in Australian higher education. A joint project between Deakin University, Queensland University of Technology, and Charles Sturt University.
- Learn, Experience, Access Professions (LEAP) – Based in Victoria, LEAP seeks to encourage secondary students from low SES communities to consider higher education as a future option through a focus on the professions.
- The Wealth Academy – The Wealth Academy aims to build in young people an understanding of financial literacy and financial capability.