The case for redefining low socioeconomic status in higher education

Since the early 1990s, higher education statistics have defined someone as of low socio-economic status if they are from a region classified in the lowest 25 per cent in Australia according to the ABS Index of Education and Occupation. Wouldn’t it be better to pay more attention to areas that for whatever reason have low university participation rates, even if quirks of the Index of Education and Occupation formula give them SES ratings that disqualify them from low-SES rewards? Why use proxy data when we have direct measures of whether an area has low participation in higher education or not?

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More regional Australians are moving to the city to study. Few return when they’ve finished.

More regional Australians are going to university when they finish school, and they are increasingly moving to the city to study. Fewer than a third of regional students commencing university in 2005 made the move to a city. By 2010, that number had risen to half, and by 2015 it was 57 per cent. Regional students with high ATARs move to the city at higher rates. High-achieving regional students tend to move to the city to study.

read more More regional Australians are moving to the city to study. Few return when they’ve finished.