Hannah Forsyth

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The history of universities in the twentieth century is, at least from the perspective of growth, a massive success. Australian higher education is no exception. Prior to the Second World War, Australia had six universities and approximately 10,500 students. Now there are in excess of one million students attending 39 institutions. In each phase of student expansion, governments have sought to make universities accessible to new segments of the community, a pattern that informs contemporary social inclusion initiatives. This paper focuses on two successive periods – the 1940s/1950s and the 1960s/1970s – during which university participation expanded. Comparing two universities which were at that time very different from one another – the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales – I consider the ways both universities approached admissions to understand what each institution hoped to achieve in attracting students beyond the traditional elite. This helps move beyond government strategy and rhetoric to consider what universities believed was at stake as they enabled new students to enter their communities.

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Journal Article

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