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