The recent review of Australian Higher Education identified the need to increase higher education participation rates amongst disadvantaged groups. The report in particular notes the need for urgent attention to increase higher education participation rates in rural and regional areas. Consistent with this review and other key government policy directions, La Trobe University has identified the need to increase regional participation rates and its strategic and operational plans have as key outcomes, the creation of educational pathways that support lifelong learning. A strong focus of these plans is enhanced relationships with the broader education sector including schools, vocational and community education providers. This paper will present and summarise research conducted in regional Australia that has clearly identified how mature age individuals experience a range of barriers in accessing, progressing and succeeding at university. This work demonstrates that in many rural and regional contexts, mature age students face additional barriers exacerbated by financial and time costs and the geographic distance between communities and university campuses. The paper will conclude that the development of bridging programs, articulation agreements and formal mentoring programs between universities, schools and vocational and community colleges will enhance a diversity of access, success and achievement in a higher education context.
|Keywords:||Diversity, Adult Learning, Higher Education, Rural and Regional|
Lecturer, School of Social Work & Social Policy, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia
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