Will access to ‘gap year’ Youth Allowance improve regional students participation in higher education?

Parliament house flag post

Will access to ‘gap year’ Youth Allowance improve regional students participation in higher education?

Posted 18/02/2011 by Coral Dow



In the recent Senate debate on Senator Nash's private member’s bill to extend the criteria for Independent Youth Allowance to Inner Regional students the issue of why so few regional students go on to tertiary education was raised and an argument made that the ability to take a gap year and qualify for Youth Allowance would improve regional students’ access to and participation in higher education.

However past experience would suggest that if the bill–which has passed the Senate–is debated and passed in the House of Representatives it may do little to improve the regional participation rate in higher education. Despite gap year provisions for Youth Allowance eligibility being in place for over ten years the regional participation rate in higher education has been static since 1990. At that time the higher education equity policy, A Fair Chance for All, identified regional and remote students as one of six equity groups. Annual equity reporting since 1990 shows the regional participation rate (regional students as a percentage of all domestic students) has rarely moved from about 18 per cent compared to a regional population proportion of 25.4 per cent. (See Bradley review of Australian Higher Education p. 28) Alternative analysis by DEEWR restricted to students aged 19-21 years (rather than all domestic students) showed regional participation rates increased between 1996 and 2006 from 18 per cent to 21 per cent but metropolitan participation increased more substantially resulting in the gap between regional and metropolitan participation rates widening from 10 to 14 percentage points. Furthermore this underrepresentation of regional students compared to the population increases with remoteness.

If access to Youth Allowance on the workforce participation (gap year) criteria is to improve the participation rate of regional students we might expect it to have increased following the Howard Government’s introduction of Youth Allowance in July 1998 which allowed Independent status for recipients who had supported themselves through employment for a significant period of time since leaving school. Independent status is more attractive because Independent students do not have their parents’ income or assets taken into account when their application is assessed and they recieve the full Youth Allowance payment.

The Bradley review (p.52 Figure 14) reported that since 1999 increasing proportions of Youth Allowance recipients are now in the ‘Independent’ category while numbers of students in the ‘Dependent’ category has declined: Centrelink data for 2008 shows 117 623 university students received Youth Allowance, 46 009 (39.1%) were Dependent and 71 614 (60.9%) Independent. 82.2% of independent recipients (or 58 000) qualified for Youth Allowance through the workplace participation criteria. Despite this large uptake of Independent Youth Allowance the regional participation rate remained static on 18 per cent.

How could the $300 million estimated expense of the current proposal be better targeted if the aim is to increase regional participation in higher education? Research analysed by DEEWR suggests that factors influencing the regional participation rate include socioeconomic status, aspirations, upper-secondary education participation and local employment/training opportunities. A number of studies including Jones et al (2002) conclude that secondary schooling is critical: regional students are less likely to progress to upper secondary levels and complete Year 12 and regional students have lower aspirations for post secondary education. DEEWR data shows that underrepresentation is more related to lower likelihood of applying for higher education than the likelihood of receiving and accepting an offer. DEEWR's report on 2009 undergraduate applications, offers and acceptances showed regional applicants made up 20.9 per cent of university applicants below their population share of 26.3 per cent.
DEEWR noted (p.49) that this 'pattern of under-representation in the initial stage of applying to university translates into lower participation at university'.

With this in mind it may therefore be more strategic to target programs that improve school retention rates and overcome cultural factors that influence student aspirations and choices.


Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.

Add your comment

[Click to expand]

We welcome your comments, or additional information which is relevant to a post. These can be added by clicking on the ‘Add your comment’ option above. Please note that the Parliamentary Library will moderate comments, and reserves the right not to publish comments that are inconsistent with the objectives of FlagPost. This includes comments that are not relevant to the article, factually incorrect or politically partisan, as well as spam, profanity and personal abuse. We will close comments after three months.




Captcha
Generate a new image
Type characters from the image:

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print

FlagPost

Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament


Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Archive

Syndication

Tagcloud

refugees asylum immigration climate change Australian foreign policy parliament social security elections welfare reform welfare policy school education Australian Defence Force health financing higher education emissions trading indigenous Australians women private health insurance people trafficking Employment illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 Middle East disability Sport Australian Bureau of Statistics statistics United Nations Asia Taxation Afghanistan income management Medicare health forced labour Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget Industrial Relations Carbon Pricing Mechanism politics dental health Australian Electoral Commission WADA criminal law transport aid child protection environment poker machines Australia in the Asian Century steroids National Disability Insurance Scheme detention aged care 43rd Parliament slavery health system ASADA Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Fair Work Act Australian Public Service governance labour force people smuggling debt international relations constitution New Zealand food Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme OECD corruption pensions public service reform children's health Aviation federal election 2013 foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability parliamentary procedure Senate Senators and Members ALP Newstart Parenting Payment multiculturalism Youth Allowance sea farers UK Parliament election results voting mental health Federal Court terrorist groups science social media Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations accountability Papua New Guinea youth paid parental leave same sex relationships coal seam gas customs planning doping crime health risks International Women's Day Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy violence against women domestic violence China ADRV terrorism transparency research and development welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining High Court military history electoral reform employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing by-election European Union family assistance skilled migration banking United Nations Security Council Australian economy forestry food labelling vocational education and training Drugs welfare systems Indonesia children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report energy social inclusion human rights paternalism national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity standards NATO Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse World Trade Organization Australia public health housing affordability bulk billing political parties water productivity health policy Governor-General US economy trade unions export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery firearms question time speaker superannuation public housing expertise public policy climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leadership Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry regulation Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare Census Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy royal commission US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage Population rural and regional alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran ANZUS regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation Members of Parliament Scottish referendum early childhood education Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying asylum seekers Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines workers financial sector Canada Somalia United Kingdom GDP world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra environmental law federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office work-life balance

Show all
Show less
Back to top