Socio Economic Status

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Does having a lower socio economic status influence the choice to participate in university in Australia? What reasons might there be for this?

Low socio economic status is part of the under-represented group in Australia, which also consists of ethnic background and indigenous Australians. People who are classified in the low socio economic group generally have poorer education, income and occupational status compared to members of the medium and high socio economic group. This group has a very low record of application rate to university (18.6%) especially when compared to the application rates of medium and high socio economic groups in Australia (49.1%, 30.5%) (Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education 2012, p. 30). This essay is designed to explore why there is such a difference in education among these groups, the influences of such poor application rates, what could and should be done to create equity and equality amongst all Australian students and if there has been an improvement in applications since 2011, if so, by how much?
Australian residents with a low socio economic status tend to have the most financial difficulties due to their lack of income ($0-$50,000 a year) (Strick, B. R 2012, p. 3); this without realizing negatively affects a student’s education choices. Individuals with a lower income have to work more just to afford basic essentials such as food, shelter and clothing not giving them the luxury to be able to purchase new technologies such as a computer and internet or to even afford text books required for higher education. People in middle and high socio economic groups are earning $50,000 + a year, therefore they are able to afford these basics and also many luxuries needed for their own pleasures (Strick, B. R 2012, p. 4). Without the easy access to resources such as the computer, internet and text books’, studying is made much harder to partake in therefore students are lacking in aspiration



References: Department of industry, innovation, science, research and tertiary education 2012, ‘Undergraduate applications, offers and acceptances 2012’, Australian Government, pp30-33. Hall, B 2012, ‘Record number of poorer students reach their dream of a university education’, The Age, pp 1-2. Ramsay, E 1997, ‘Higher education access and equity for low SES school leavers, Evaluations and Investigations Program report’ 98/18, AusInfo, Canberra. Sealy, T.N 2011,’Socioeconimc position and higher education in Australia’, The Australian Association for Research in Education, 38, pp 43-56. Smith, L 2011,’Experimental hot knowledge and its influence on low SES students’ capacities to aspire to higher education’, Critical Studies in Education, 52(2), pp 165-167. Strick, B. R. 2012,’Equitable access to college: evidence for the influence of school Context’, Education Policy Analysis Archives, 20 (35). Trusty, J., Robinson, C. R., Plata, M., & Ng, K. 2000,’Effects of gender, socioeconomic status, and early academic performance on postsecondary educational choice’, Journal of Counselling & Development, 78(4), pp 463-472.

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