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History of the ACCESS Scheme  Established in 1987 following Hukins Report  2500 applications annually - assessed at UNSW by Admissions Office until.

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Presentation on theme: "History of the ACCESS Scheme  Established in 1987 following Hukins Report  2500 applications annually - assessed at UNSW by Admissions Office until."— Presentation transcript:

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2 History of the ACCESS Scheme  Established in 1987 following Hukins Report  2500 applications annually - assessed at UNSW by Admissions Office until 2001  Roughly 75% of applicants eligible for consideration under ACCESS  Resource intensive – threshold system of assessment employed as a result  Support provided to ACCESS students by EADU post admission

3 Aim of the ACCESS Scheme  To provide access to UNSW for educationally disadvantaged applicants  Broadly two types of applicant – 1. Applicants who belong to 4 of the 6 equity groups identified in “A Fair Chance for All” (1990) –  Low Socio Economic Status (SES)  Rural and Isolated  Students from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB)  Students with disabilities

4 Aim of the ACCESS Scheme  UNSW has separate mechanisms to address the under- representation of Women in non traditional areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders  “A Fair Chance for All” formed the basis of a national framework for equity in higher education. Reviewed by DEST in Confirmed that the six groups identified then are still under-represented (particularly Low SES and Rural) 2. Applicants whose individual circumstances have affected their academic performance (eg. illness, death in family, trauma/abuse etc)

5 Centralised EAS  Centralised assessment of Educational Access Schemes (EAS) at UAC since 2001  All UAC participating universities agreed to a common assessment methodology (essentially based on UNSW’s ACCESS Scheme)  Approx applications received at UAC annually  Applications are assessed according to common criteria but institutions use EAS assessment data to allocate places in line with their own equity/admissions policies so the outcome for applicants can vary across universities.

6 Two methods available to allocate offers to EAS applicants 1.Allocation method The institution puts aside a percentage of places in each u/grad program (5% at UNSW) for ACCESS eligible applicants. These applicants compete on merit for the ACCESS places.  ACCESS applicants are offered places below the standard cut-off until the 5% of places are filled OR until the 10 rank limit is reached.

7 Two methods available to allocate offers to EAS applicants  At UNSW each year there are a number of programs that cannot fill available ACCESS places and there are others (notably Law and other high cut-off programs) where places are filled in a narrow band under the cut-off. 2.Bonus points method Places are not set aside. Individual applicants have a bonus applied to their admission rank and then compete for places with other applicants. To receive an offer they must meet the published cut-off for the program.

8 Allocation vs Bonus points  The allocation method does not allow differentiation between individual applicants in terms of the degree of educational disadvantage experienced. All applicants are considered equally in terms of admission concession and compete on their UAI or equivalent.  The bonus points method allows individual applicants to be granted concessional entry based on the degree of disadvantage experienced via a sliding scale.

9 Illustrative example  Applicant A has experienced the following disadvantages:  Financial hardship  Death of a parent in Yr 11/12  Attendance at a disadvantaged school  Personal illness. He is assessed as extremely disadvantaged  Applicant B has experienced the following disadvantage:  Personal Illness. She is assessed as moderately disadvantaged.

10 Illustrative example  Currently using the allocation method these two applicants compete on the basis of UAI or equivalent. This doesn’t acknowledge that Applicant A has experienced significantly greater disadvantage than has Applicant B.  Under the bonus points system concession can be granted to the individual applicants so that Applicant A receives a greater bonus than does Applicant B. As a result of the centralised EAS process applicants who have experienced multiple long-term educational disadvantages can be distinguished from those who have experienced lesser disadvantage and be afforded appropriate admission concession.

11 Outcome of changing from allocation to bonus points  No change to the fundamentals of the ACCESS Scheme. Applicants need to meet same criteria for consideration under the Scheme  No change to the level of concession granted – up to 10 ranks below (under the bonus points system the maximum of 10 would only apply to the most seriously disadvantaged applicants <0.2%)  More equitable allocation of places to disadvantaged applicants  Likely increase in students from equity groups gaining entry (especially to high demand programs eg. Law)

12 Are we setting these students up to fail?  A number of reviews have been undertaken since the ACCESS Scheme was introduced. Each has found that ACCESS students do almost as well as other students in terms of Student Progress Rates Retention rates for ACCESS students are higher than for other students For many students the disadvantage/s that made them eligible in the first instance continue into their u/grad study  ACCESS students are provided with support by EADU particularly during first year


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