This report provides an overview of the key issues, identifies the principal challenges and highlights the major policy responses in view of the findings and recommendations from recent research reports funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE). It also draws on an August 2017 submission from the NCSEHE to the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education and some of the current work being done by NCSEHE’s Equity Fellows, a program funded by the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP).
Research and policy papers show there are general issues that apply across the whole of regional Australia and affect all students from regional areas, but there are also many unique issues that are specific to local areas. Ultimately, each region and locality is subject to different drivers and shapers of change to different degrees. Generalisation on regional equity issues needs to be treated with caution.
For simplicity of communication, students from regional, rural and remote areas will often all be referred to as ‘regional’ unless there is a specific need for separate identification. The Australian Government’s current equity group classifications refer to two cohorts, ‘regional’ and ‘remote’.