Media releases

Disadvantage no barrier to success at university, once you get there

05 Oct 2021

A NEW study by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) investigating the impact of student disadvantage on achievement in Year 12 and first-year university has been released.

The study looked at whether a student’s ATAR is affected by socio-economic disadvantage and if it contributes to predicting university success independent of this disadvantage.

The final report, Student disadvantage and success at university, found that, compared with their non-disadvantaged peers, students from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to progress to Year 12 or to attain an ATAR and are less likely to enrol at university.

But the pattern is different once the ATAR is taken into account. That is, given the same ATAR, lower-SES students enrol at a higher rate at university and, once there, generally slightly outperform their non-disadvantaged peers.

Kim Paino, General Manager, Marketing and Engagement says, ‘This research shows that the ATAR is effective as a tool for measuring academic achievement and managing university admissions, regardless of the background of the student. However, outcomes for disadvantaged students could be improved by raising attainment before the senior years of school, increasing the use of pathways into higher education and expanding the financial support available while at university’.

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For further information (media only) email or contact:
Diane Jardine, Communications Coordinator, UAC on 0436 459 603, or
Kim Paino, General Manager, Marketing and Engagement, UAC on 0409 155 112.