How we got here

QUT’s Widening Participation (WP) program was initiated in the 1990s and has continually evolved in the years since.

We adapt to align with emerging best practice and changing socio-economic demographics, to seize opportunities for broader engagement within our target groups, and to meet changes in QUT and Federal Government funding and policy.

In 2010 the program expanded considerably following the 2008 Bradley Review of Australian higher education. This review led to a national target for the proportion of undergraduate students from low socioeconomic (low-SES) backgrounds and was accompanied by increased funding under the Federal Government’s Higher Education Participation and Partnership Program (HEPPP).

Under HEPPP funding we have:

  • expanded our program of engagement opportunities to represent each QUT faculty
  • developed in-school programs for classroom delivery
  • led a robust program of STEM community and curriculum-connected events
  • partnered to develop on-campus activities targeted at specific groups.

Rationale

All of our programs are based on the premise that there are five conditions that must all be met before school-leavers and adult students enter higher education.

Awareness

An understanding of the available opportunities and how to access them.

Aspiration

The desire to attend university.

Affordability

Sufficient money to support student life.

Achievement

The educational attainment level to gain entry to university.

Access

Admissions policies that open the door to low-SES students, and the absence of distance and time constraints.

Our programs

We address all five conditions in all of our program activities, aiming to:

  • build awareness of available higher education and career opportunities and how to access them
  • build aspiration, particularly the desire to pursue further education or training
  • increase motivation, engagement and achievement among school students
  • build awareness of available financial assistance for low-SES prospective students to assist with affordability
  • increase equity scholarship and OP/Rank adjustment scheme applications to assist low-SES and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to gain access to higher education.

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