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Participation in Higher Education: Equity and Access: Are Equity-based Scholarships an Answer?


  • Buly A Cardak

    () (Department of Economics and Finance, La Trobe University)

  • Chris Ryan

    () (Social Policy Evaluation, Analysis and Research Centre, RSSS, Australian National University)


We re-analyse data used by Le and Miller (2005), where it is found that students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds have lower university participation rates than those from higher SES backgrounds. We utilise the concept of eligibility to attend university - here defined by both possession of a valid ENTER score and the value of that score. We find participation among those with similar eligibility to attend university does not vary by SES. Conditional on their ENTER scores, students from poor family backgrounds are as likely to attend university as those from better- resourced families. Hence, we see little scope for equity based tuition scholarships to rectify differences in participation between these groups. Instead, we find that possession and the quality of ENTER scores (eligibility) does rise with SES. Further analysis and policy targeting of the linkage between SES and ENTER scores is more likely to produce superior equity and access outcomes in higher education.

Suggested Citation

  • Buly A Cardak & Chris Ryan, 2007. "Participation in Higher Education: Equity and Access: Are Equity-based Scholarships an Answer?," Working Papers 2007.03, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ltr:wpaper:2007.03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Finnie, Ross & Laporte, Christine & Lascelles, Eric, 2004. "Family Background and Access to Post-secondary Education: What Happened over the 1990s?," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2004226e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    2. Barsky R. & Bound J. & Charles K.K. & Lupton J.P., 2002. "Accounting for the Black-White Wealth Gap: A Nonparametric Approach," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 663-673, September.
    3. Buly A Cardak & Chris Ryan, 2006. "Why are high ability individuals from poor backgrounds under-represented at university?," Working Papers 2006.04, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
    4. Chapman, Bruce & Ryan, Chris, 2005. "The access implications of income-contingent charges for higher education: lessons from Australia," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 491-512, October.
    5. Anh T. Le & Paul W. Miller, 2005. "Participation in Higher Education: Equity and Access?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 81(253), pages 152-165, June.
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    More about this item


    university participation; credit constraints; SES based scholarships. EDIRC Provider-Institution: RePEc:edi:smlatau;

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy


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