Working paper

2011 Census papers: education part 3: tertiary education

25 May 2015

Using a range of data—including the newly released Australian Census Longitudinal Dataset—this report presents a profile of Indigenous tertiary students and higher educational outcomes.


This report shows that substantially more people who identified as being Indigenous were undertaking tertiary studies, or had obtained a post-school qualification, in 2011 than in 2006. Despite these improvements, the gap between the proportion of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people with a post-school qualification of any type barely changed between 2006 and 2011; in 2011, Indigenous people remained substantially underrepresented at higher levels of educational attainment.

In more positive findings, although the proportion of Indigenous people in the 15–24-year age group embarking on university-level education was much lower than the proportion of non-Indigenous people in the same age group, those Indigenous students who did embark on university-level studies appeared to complete university at similar rates to their non-Indigenous counterparts. Their success rates gradually increased over time, in terms of the number of subjects passed as a proportion of those attempted.

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