University of Western Australia – Fairway UWA
The University of Western Australia (UWA) has an integrated suite of equity outreach programs ranging from broad-based, early intervention outreach programs and access pathways to more intensive, targeted individual support programs.
Fairway UWA is an alternative entry pathway to UWA for students completing Year 12 under difficult circumstances. Open to WA students who face challenging circumstances in demonstrating their academic potential, the program offers support with Western Australian Certificate of Education studies and university aspirations. Students who complete the program are eligible for a placement offer up to 10 points below UWA’s usual admission cut-off.
Fairway UWA aims to build both the academic capacity and motivation of students facing significant challenges in attaining their higher education goals. The program provides multifaceted support responsive to the individual and their circumstances, through their journey from Year 12 until the completion of their studies at UWA.
All reasonable costs associated with attending Fairway UWA events are covered by the program, ensuring the additional support remains accessible to students.
Activities and Progress
In 2012, the Fairway UWA program commenced with 42 students from 16 schools. In 2013, the program doubled in size, accepting 97 metropolitan and regional students. Currently, the program supports over 100 Year 12 students each year.
To complete the program, students are required to complete three assessment tasks, four online modules and attend on-campus events. The academic tasks are designed to develop students’ English language and research skills, enhancing their likelihood of receiving a university offer and preparing them
for tertiary studies.
Fairway UWA students originally attended only one on-campus event: a two-day residential Summer School in January. However, feedback from participants identified that maintaining motivation in the face of constant stress was a common challenge, and that building a sense of cohort was critical to sustaining motivation. As a result, a Master Class in April and a four-day Winter School in July were added to the program, and the Summer School was extended to four days. Students also have access to a wealth of online resources and are encouraged to attend additional English classes on Saturdays.
For students who enrol at UWA, Fairway UWA maintains ongoing contact and provides financial, academic and social support, and career counselling. Peer Study Groups are also available for first year core units. Many senior Fairway UWA students subsequently join the program as ambassadors, mentoring Year 12 students and tutoring commencing university students.
“Fairway has inspired many students from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their full potential and dreams of higher education (myself included). This support has been made available to Fairway students after Year 12 and thus many of us feel more at ease about attending UWA because of the family feeling of Fairway.” – Fairway UWA student.
From 2012–16, 376 students successfully completed the program, with 361 receiving offers from universities in WA (96 per cent success rate).
Since the end of 2012 ,143 Fairway UWA students have received offers from UWA. Of these, 131 are currently enrolled (above 91 per cent retention), an outstanding result when considering the challenges faced by this cohort. These students have also performed well academically, with 75 per cent achieving average to above average standards and 15 per cent achieving a Weighted Average Mark of 70 or higher. There is strong student satisfaction with the overall program, including delivery of activities and intended outcomes.
Fairway UWA is making a real difference in improving access and success for disadvantaged students, evidenced by increased university enrolments for low SES students, positive retention data and the endorsement of parents and teachers that Fairway UWA is contributing to long-term positive change.
With the support of HEPPP funding, Fairway UWA is now positioned as an integrated program within the broader equity outreach strategy at UWA.
Ongoing collaboration within the institution, its alumni, and the larger university community will underpin the sustainability and continued success of this program, building upon available funding to continue delivering positive outcomes.
This case study was one of 35 featured in the NCSEHE’s 2017 publication Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program: Seven Years On.