Go8: Poverty and Place Should not be a Barrier to a University Education

4 Sep 2018

Australia’s leading universities, the Group of Eight (Go8), have welcomed a commitment from the Federal Opposition to boost funding to expand opportunities for students, regardless of their location and circumstance to attend university.

The Opposition has committed $174 million over 10 years towards mentoring, support, and other specialised programs designed to boost opportunities for uni study in communities where graduation rates are low.   Importantly this funding will be available for universities to partner with not for profit community groups to target students most in need.

Go8 Chief Executive, Vicki Thomson, said where you live, nor your circumstances, should be a barrier to attending university.  

“The Go8 has always had a strong commitment to equity with over 136,600 students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds studying at Go8 universities in 2016.  Go8 Universities spend a far greater proportion of their HEPPP funding (targeted at equity and access) on outreach to regional and remote schools and communities than any other university grouping and we educate one in 8 rural and regional students. However, more must be done to boost participation,” Ms Thomson said.

“The scope of this targeted funding, which includes mentoring and support, is typified by many of the offerings across the Go8 and this funding will help us build on these successful programs.

“For example, the Young Achiever’s Scholarship program at UQ offers mentoring and support to first-in-family students while they are still at school (Y11&12), alongside scholarship support, tutoring, residential camps and transition and pathway support.  Access Monash involves mentoring support for school-age students who aspire to university and is combined with the PASS program that is offered to all first-in-family students in first year, as well as those from under-represented schools, financially disadvantaged areas and all recipients of equity bursaries at Monash. 

“The Go8 also has a strong track record of partnership with the NFP sector, TAFE and schools. For example, ANU and the University of Sydney partner with the Country Education Foundation and all Go8 universities have a partnership with the Smith Family.  In addition, the Go8 and ACOSS have recently partnered to work together to promote more equitable outcomes for students from low socio-economic backgrounds and from regional and remote locations,” Ms Thomson said. 

“Poverty and disadvantage must not be a barrier to entry to our universities and the Go8 is committed to lifting the aspirations of Australians to not only access a university education but to succeed in that education.”

 

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472