The impact of changes in HECS on students from low socio-economic backgrounds

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This report examines the impact of the 1996/97 budgetary changes in HECS on student participation from different socio-economic areas. While previous studies show there is an increase in student participation from low socio-economic areas, these studies are in numerical terms and reflect the increase in university places offered not the demand for higher education, measured by the number of applications. The quantity of demand for higher education has declined as a consequence of the 1996/97 budgetary changes in HECS. Unlike other research on this topic this report is founded upon a longitudinal study of ABS Census data for the Sydney region from 1996 to 2001 to determine the relationship between changes in relative income and the proportion of students in the 46 Statistical Local Areas (SLAs).


School of Arts

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