Improving university access for people with a disability

18 OCTOBER 2016

Improving access to higher education for people with a disability from a low socio-economic background in regional areas is the focus of new CSU-led research.

Improving access to higher education for people with a disability from a low socio-economic background in regional areas is the focus of new CSU-led research.

Professor Julia CoyleThe project, titled Understanding how regionality and socioeconomic status intersect with disability, has been awarded a $165 000Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme (HEPPP) grant.

The project will be conducted across five regionally-based universities in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

CSU's research partners on the projectare Federation University, James Cook University, Central Queensland University and University of Southern Queensland.

CSU Dean of Students, Professor Julia Coyle said, "This study aims to identify barriers and levers affecting access to and participation in higher education for people with a disability who also come from a low socio-economic background and live in regional areas".

"The research will address knowledge gaps that currently exist around this important national issue, helping to build the evidence base and make recommendations that seek to enhance access and participation for this group of people.

"The findings from this research conducted by five partner universities with regional and remote footprints will help us to better understand decisions related to higher education participation made by regional people with disability, including why many seem to choose to delay university study until later in life.

"Our aim is to use this research as a foundation for improving higher education access in order to reduce social exclusion, which is a higher risk for people with a disability from low socio-economic status backgrounds," Professor Coyle said.

In addition to the $165 000 worth of funding provided by HEPPP, CSU and other participating universities are contributing $55 000 towards the research project.

An initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, HEPPP aims to ensure that Australians from low socio-economic status backgrounds who have the ability to study at university have the opportunity to do so. It provides funding to assist universities to undertake activities and implement strategies that improve access to undergraduate courses for people from low socio-economic status backgrounds, as well as improving the retention and completion rates of those students.

Media Note:

Professor Julia Coyle is available for interviews on Wednesday 19 October. Contact CSU Media for more information.

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