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ADCET Webinar: Beyond graduation: Long-term socioeconomic outcomes amongst equity students

ADCET in partnership with the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) were joined by Dr Wojtek Tomaszewski from the University of Queensland in presenting this webinar.

Research consistently shows that higher-education participation has positive impacts on individual outcomes. However, few studies explicitly consider differences in these impacts by students’ equity status, and those which do fail to examine graduate trajectories over the long run, non-labour outcomes and relative returns.

The webinar presents results from recent research that address these knowledge gaps by investigating the short and long-term socio-economic trajectories of Australian university graduates from equity groups and compare them with outcomes for non-equity students across multiple domains. The equity groups investigated in the analysis include students from low socioeconomic status (low SES) backgrounds, non-English-speaking background (NESB), students from regional/remote areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Indigenous) students, and students with disability.

We use high-quality longitudinal data from two sources: the Australian Longitudinal Census Dataset and the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey. For most of the groups investigated in this report, the trajectories of equity and non-equity graduates appear to converge over a longer run so that any initial differences disappear after seven to eight years post-graduation. However, there were two notable exceptions to this pattern: students of an Indigenous background, and students with disability, both of which reported significantly inferior outcomes compared with their non-equity counterparts, particularly in terms of physical and mental health, and subjective wellbeing as captured by life satisfaction.

While based on small samples, and arguably reflecting a broader underlying disadvantage for these two equity groups, these findings highlight that this kind of disadvantage is not easily alleviated through the completion of a university degree alone, but also requires a concerted policy effort within and beyond the higher education sector.


TDr Wojtek Tomaszewski

Dr Wojtek Tomaszewski is a Research Group Leader at the Institute for Social Science Research, the University of Queensland, and a Senior Research Fellow in the ARC Centre of Excellence on Families and Children over the Life Course (the Life Course Centre). Wojtek is an accomplished international scholar with expertise in quantitative research methods and advanced statistical analysis. His research interests include education, employment, and transitions from school to work. Wojtek has a wealth of experience working with administrative and survey data, and he has a background working in research consultancies. He has undertaken a number of research projects for the British government, and for the State and Commonwealth Governments in Australia.