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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.