The Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) aims to ensure that Australians from low SES backgrounds who have the ability to study at university have the opportunity to do so.
RUN would suggest that a streamlined version of the current reporting requirements is retained until such time as the proposed evaluation framework is in place and there has been opportunity to test its effectiveness in steering the intended performance and outcomes of HEPPP-funded initiatives.
We have some concern about the fact that a small proportion of Australia’s universities, such as RUN’s members, do the ‘heavy lifting’ in terms of providing access to students from low SES backgrounds. This is not recognised in the document. In order to stimulate demand across the country to shift the proportion of students from this background entering university and to reach the national low SES target, the effort needs to be shared across all universities. There should be some acknowledgement in the guidelines that a “reasonable” contribution must be made by providers to outreach activities – that is, notionally, more than around 20 per cent. We suggest that a requirement to undertake outreach in collaboration with other universities should be a condition of eligibility for an Access and Participation grant.