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The Bradley review suggests that students with low socio-economic status (SES) need greater financial support than that which is currently offered to them if they are to take up university places and remain at university throughout their courses (Bradley, Noonan, Nugent, & Scales, 2008). This recommendation is, in part, based on research into the necessity for low SES students to maintain paid, term-time employment throughout their higher education to meet their basic needs. This study has been undertaken to explore the connection between SES status and paid term-time employment on a suburban satellite campus of a regional Australian university in order to determine the extent to which this holds true for this site. This research used a four page questionnaire to establish average hours of employment, types of employment, the necessity for employment, the expenditure of the money earned, and the potential for interference between study and paid employment for the full time undergraduate students studying at this site. Overall there was a remarkable level of similarity between the responses of the two SES cohorts studied (low and mid/high), although some differences indicated that the mid/high SES cohort may be slightly more dependent on their earnings than the low SES cohort and that the low SES cohort appeared more likely to view their employment as a preparation for their future careers. Implications for universities’ timetabling, student support services, and efforts to attract low SES students need to consider the site-specific reasons for low SES enrolment rates and the reasons for students’ term-time employment.


School of Arts

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access