Deakin University
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Massaging desire : disadvantaged students' aspirations for higher education.

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conference contribution
posted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by S Sellar, Trevor Gale, Stephen Parker
Australia is in a challenging position. Having ridden the resources boom up and down, it now finds it has fallen back from the OECD pack in terms of the number of young adults (25 to 34 year olds) with higher education qualifications. This, coupled with a change of government, has prompted transformation in the Australian higher education system that will increasingly require research and policy to address students’ aspirations for university. Aspiration has long been considered an important condition for entry to higher education (Anderson, Boven, Fensham & Powell, 1980). However, recent policy reforms, specifically the setting of targets for significant increases in participation, now demand a rethinking of the concept. Across Australian universities, the current attainment rate for bachelor degrees among 25 to 34 year olds is around 32 per cent, while over the past twenty years the enrolment rate of students from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds has stagnated at around 15 per cent (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009). In response to the Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education in 2008, the Australian Government has set ‘20/40 targets’ in a bid to increase low SES enrolment to 20 per cent by 2020, and to increase to 40 per cent by 2025 the number of 25 to 34 year olds holding bachelor degrees. This will require that around 220,000 additional students attain bachelor degrees by 2025. Given current levels of unmet demand for university entry, this overall increase in participation, and the proportional increase of low SES students in particular, will only be achievable by engaging with populations of potential students who do not currently seek university places.



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Canberra, A. C. T.

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E2.1 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed

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AARE 2009 : Australian Association for Research in Education International Education Research Conference

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