What is educational disadvantage?

Generally, educational disadvantage is caused by circumstances beyond your control that have affected previously satisfactory academic results. Educational disadvantage can also impact access to, or participation in, education especially tertiary education.

Circumstances which can impact educational opportunities include:

  • Circumstances relating to opportunity, for example, access to the appropriate resources to support achievement, access to quality teaching, learning experiences, purchasing books, and accessing technologies. People from low socio-economic backgrounds can experience such disadvantage
  • The impact of disability or health conditions on participation in education. This can include negative or discriminatory experiences in school; when a disability or health condition leads to excessive absence and lack of reasonable adjustments being provided to allow equal participation. Caring for someone with a disability or health condition on education can also impact educational opportunity
  • The impact of being a refugee or humanitarian visa holder and access to education, and associated English language difficulties and transition issues
  • The impact of cultural or language demands and expectations on a student’s participation in education
  • Compassionate and other circumstances, for example, effects of surgery, trauma, bereavement, neglect, homelessness, out-of-home care, domestic or family violence, relocation, divorce, or other unanticipated circumstances.

Examples of what is NOT considered educational disadvantage, include:

  • Inability to cope with studies or adapt to university life
  • Participation in representative sport and social activities such as musicals and student councils, or undertaking positions of authority (e.g. school captain)
  • Changing subjects or not taking prerequisite subjects.

Educational disadvantage does not apply to postgraduate programs.

There are support options for students who have experienced educational disadvantage. For further information, please visit Student Equity Outreach.

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