Who seeks access to what, when and why: Interrogating the pivotal role of student aspirations in higher education participation

Students from low SES backgrounds are not only less likely to participate in higher education overall, but also less likely to participate in high status degrees and enrol in the most prestigious universities. This project was awarded a $275,265 2014 HEPP National Priority Pool grant to address this seemingly intractable problem by mapping the specific occupational interests and education intentions of school students from Years 3-12 to inform targeted university outreach activities.

The project does so by adding value to an existing dataset of 10,000 survey and focus groups involving 700 students gathered through the Aspirations Longitudinal Study. Analyses will be conducted to investigate which students (individually and by SES, prior achievement, gender, location, ethnicity and Indigenous status) express interest in what careers, why and at what points in their schooling. 

This project will be led by Professor Jenny Gore, Professor Max Smith, Dr Kathryn Holmes and a team of researchers.