This publication reviews outcomes from the 2017/18 Research Grants Program funding round. The research priorities for this funding round were: analysis of the impact of changes in student financial support, graduate outcomes, equity implications of the increase in postgraduate education, and the impact of local communities on equity participation. The fourth in the Informing Policy and Practice series, the publication also incorporates Associate Professor Maria Raciti’s 2018 NCSEHE Research Fellowship on the perceived risks of going to university for students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds.
In building the evidence base to support equity in higher education, the NCSEHE seeks to promote a positive cycle of continuous quality improvement in research, policy and practice: identifying the issues, providing research data, and leading the policy debate on equity in higher education. This intention is supported by the NCSEHE’s other activities in developing links with stakeholders, disseminating research and information, and conducting events to build better networks and strengthen advocacy.
The research projects in the 2017/18 funding round reflect these trends. Four research themes from this round emerged:
- knowing our students much better
- insights into understanding the subtleties and variations of living in regional Australia
- new ideas on the role of institutions and the processes that drive them
- ensuring long-term success in equity by measuring post-graduation outcomes.
The research reports featured in this publication provide a welcome contribution to the evidence base on how equity in higher education is faring and how we can make the greatest positive impact in the future.
Insights from the reports will assist researchers, equity practitioners and policymakers to better shape a more holistic student-centred approach to student equity in ways that re-evaluate what constitutes success. The reports confirm that improving the accountability and transparency of reporting by all educational institutions will better enable them to respond and adapt to student needs that are consistent with public policy goals in education.