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:
- Centre for Higher Education Equity and Diversity Research (CHEEDR) — Based at La Trobe University, CHEEDR informs university strategies for improving the access and achievement levels of under-represented students. The Centre has a particular focus on students from low SES backgrounds, and has responsibility for the oversight and reporting of HEPPP.
- Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE) — Since its establishment in late 2014, CEEHE at The University of Newcastle, Australia has played an instrumental role in delivering research outcomes that benefit the long-term strength of UON and the sector in delivering education to a diverse range of students.
- CEF Scholarships Guide — The Country Education Foundation (CEF) Scholarships Guide lists 1000s of Australia-wide scholarships, for students from all backgrounds, from major universities and vocational education and training providers.
- Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia (EPHEA) — EPHEA is the professional incorporated association for equity practitioners who work in tertiary education throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region.
- Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) — The HEPPP aims to ensure that Australians from low SES backgrounds who have the ability to study at university have the opportunity to do so. It provides funding to assist universities listed in Table A of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to undertake activities and implement strategies that improve access to undergraduate courses for people from low SES backgrounds, as well as improving the retention and completion rates of those students.
- Study Assist — Information for students about Australian Government assistance for financing tertiary study.
- Why Not You — The goal of the Why Not You Project is to increase the number of children leaving care who go on to university, and to help them succeed there. The Why Not You portal provides information and resources for students and universities.
- Students from Low Socioeconomic Backgrounds in Australian Higher Education — This blog post is part of the Gonski Institute for Education’s open access annotated bibliography (OAAB) series