ASPIRE wins over $648,000 for regional and remote projects | Aspire

ASPIRE wins over $648,000 for regional and remote projects

ASPIRE has won more than $648,000 from the Federal Government’s 2016 National Priorities Pool to fund four projects aimed at further improving access to university for students in regional and remote areas of Australia.

The funds will support two research projects, a pilot progam for Year 11 students focussing on study success, and the placement of two ASPIRE project officers in an ASPIRE local community.

Dr Ann Jardine, Director ASPIRE, said the funding would enable ASPIRE’s work with regional and remote students to move to a new level. “We have been working with our regional partner schools in NSW since 2010. As a result, there has been a steady increase in the number of students receiving offers to university. With the additional National Priorities Pool funding, we can build on our work to date and target specific areas of need.

“We are excited that we will be able to conduct further research into widening participation in higher education. It is essential that the current debate regarding the underrepresentation of regional and remote students in university is an informed one, based on evidence within the Australian context. 

“We are delighted our project to help our Year 11 students to be better prepared for study and uni life can get underway. We are also keen to see whether working with communities at a more local level has a significant impact on raising aspirations and attainment of students in our partner schools,” Dr Jardine said.

Outline of ASPIRE’S successful projects

Beyond Borders
This project will examine the efficacy of embedding recent university graduates as outreach project officers in regional and remote schools to enable tailored approaches to be developed and implemented to raise the visibility of higher education in regional and remote communities. The pilot will focus on one cluster of schools partnering with the ASPIRE program and include high schools, central schools (Years K-12) and primary schools classified as regional and remote.

Power of Perception
The project will identify key elements that shape regional and remote low SES students' aspirations and perceptions regarding access to university, and quantify the impact of these factors on student progression. The outcomes of the research will provide valuable information for practitioners in developing new widening participation strategies.

Mind the Gap
This project will investigate whether Australian university widening participation initiatives are addressing the attainment gap that exists for low SES students in regional and remote schools.

Uni in a Ute 
The project will increase the number of students reaching university by providing Year 11 students with practical study skills and information focused on barriers encountered by regional and remote students that will enable these students to successfully complete their final years of schooling and transition to university.