Higher education participation and partnerships program: seven years on

Higher education Educational evaluation

The HEPPP funded programs showcased in this publication illustrate the diversity of institutional responses to HEPPP as well as some clear themes that have been consistent over time. They are a celebration of what has been achieved and a reminder of what remains to be done.

Of the 35 featured case studies, 21 focus on pre-access programs and a further seven have a pre-access component. This demonstrates the traditional focus of HEPPP funded work on outreach and partnerships with schools, communities and industry partners. The case studies document the longevity, growth and diversification of several flagship outreach programs, with the scale and sophistication of many of these university-led partnerships being truly impressive. Noteworthy differences in program design emerge throughout the case studies. Pre-access programs variably focus on primary/pre-primary students, or those in their final years of high school; on some of the most educationally disadvantaged young people, or on high achievers in disadvantaged schools. Some have a career focus whereas others prioritise academic attainment and teacher professional development. While most engage with their cohort at the school level, other programs have identified sub-groups for highly targeted offers, including Indigenous students, students from refugee or care leaver backgrounds and young women in non-traditional areas.

Collectively, the sector can look back at seven years of significant achievements in positioning higher education as a desirable and achievable post-school pathway. Some of the case studies document the increases in application rates to universities from their partner schools over time. At the same time, the case studies highlight the often intangible benefits that result from universities’ sustained and mutually beneficial engagement with communities and the difficulties involved in measuring these outcomes.

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