Release type: Media Release


Gillard Government breaks down barriers to Australian universities


Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research
Leader of the Government in the Senate

The Gillard Government is opening the doors to university ensuring that no matter what a student’s background, they have the opportunity to achieve their goal of a university degree.

Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, today announced a $67 million investment by the Gillard Government for 11 partnerships between universities, schools, state governments and TAFEs, designed to help more disadvantaged Australians go to university.

“We believe every Australian, no matter where they live, should be able to go to university if they have the ability,” Senator Evans said.

“This funding will mean universities, in partnership with TAFEs and schools, can do more with disadvantaged schools and communities, giving students the support they need to access a university education.

“A university degree gives Australians a greater chance at getting a high paid and high skilled job.

“This funding will give those Australians who have dreamt of going to university, but have traditionally felt locked out of the system, the chance to achieve that dream.”

The successful projects will use a variety of measures to target students from low SES backgrounds including school and community workshops, mentoring, teacher support and work experience activities.

More than 50 Year 9 students from Western Australia’s Pilbara region visited Perth last week to learn about university life on campus at the University of Western Australia (UWA).

Only 14 per cent of Pilbara students currently transfer to university, one of the lowest transfer rates in the State.

UWA will receive almost $6 million under the Gillard Government program for its Aspire UWA project – an initiative to target high school students with Indigenous and low SES backgrounds from across WA.

The program is designed to improve a student’s aspiration for higher education, especially in medicine and dentistry, and improve the ability of teachers, families and communities to support student achievement.

“This funding will allow the Aspire UWA program to strengthen and expand into other regions of the State, including the Mid West, Gascoyne and the Kimberley,” Senator Evans said.

“Projects like Aspire UWA help students from all different backgrounds take up the chance to study at university, and get the jobs they have always wanted.”

Since 2009, the number of university enrolments by disadvantaged students has increased by 12.7 per cent.

By 2020, the Government is aiming to have 20 per cent of undergraduate enrolments from people from low socio economic status backgrounds.

“To achieve this goal, more people need to be given the chance to go to university and this funding will help do this,” Senator Evans said.

The 11 programs will be funded over the next three years from the Australian Government’s Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program.

This funding is part of the more than $12 billion invested in higher education by the Government in 2011. More than $52 million will be provided to the tertiary sector in a second HEPPP Partnerships round expected to open in early 2012. 


Successful Applicants

Project Title


Charles Darwin University

A Multi-Faceted Outreach Program for Students in the Northern Territory


Queensland Consortium (lead by Queensland University of Technology)

Indigenous Engagement


Queensland Consortium (lead by Queensland University of Technology)

Schools Outreach


Charles Sturt University

CSU Pathway Program


Deakin University

Access Express


University of New South Wales



Victorian Universities Consortium (lead by  Monash University)

LEAP – Learn, Experience, Access Professions


The University of Western Australia

Aspire UWA


University of Ballarat

Building Aspiration in Disadvantaged Regional Communities


Sydney Basin Universities Consortium (lead by the University of Western Sydney)

Bridges to Higher Education


Victoria University

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Australia