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You are reading: An Australian study of graduate outcomes for disadvantaged students

Tim Pitman, Lynne Roberts, Dawn Bennett and Sarah Richardson

Published in Journal of Further and Higher Education
Volume 43, 2019 – Issue 1

Abstract

Whether or not disadvantaged students are realising the same benefits from higher education as their peers is of fundamental importance to equity practitioners and policymakers. Despite this, equity policy has focused on access to higher education and little attention has been paid to graduate outcomes. The Australian study reported here used national data to investigate relationships between disadvantage and graduate outcomes. The study provides critical insights into how access to higher education does, or does not, lead to improvements in post-graduation equity. The study reveals that outcomes are not equal for all students and that higher education disadvantage persists for many students after they have completed their studies. Whilst the specific findings relate to the Australian university sector the broader discussion of the article is relevant to higher education policy more generally, especially in terms of how governments align institutional processes to measure and scrutinise achievement in relation to public policy objectives.

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