Improving the E12 Experience: Student's Evaluation on a Widening Participation Scheme

Debra SHIRLEY
The University of Sydney, Australia
debra.shirley@sydney.edu.au

Karen WILLIS
The University of Sydney, Australia
karen.willis@sydney.edu.au

Sarah LEWIS
The University of Sydney, Australia
sarah.lewis@sydney.edu.au

Fiona NG
The University of Sydney, Australia
fiona.ng@sydney.edu.au

Michelle LINCOLN
The University of Sydney, Australia
Michelle.lincoln@sydney.edu.au

Abstract

Background:
In Australia, there is an under-representation of students from low socio-economic status backgrounds in higher education. As such the Australian government introduced the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program which aimed to improve access to undergraduate programs and increase retention and completion rates. In response to this program, the University of Sydney developed the Early Offer Year 12 (E12) scheme. The E12 scheme is designed to facilitate students from low socio-economic backgrounds to attend the university. Students are provided a benefits package including a lowered entrance mark, a conditional offer into their course, a first year scholarship, Apple iPad and additional support.

This study aimed to evaluate the scheme through the perspectives of E12 students and to investigate whether the benefits package supported student's transition from secondary schooling to higher education.

Method:
This qualitative study involved interviewing nine first year students enrolled at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney through the E12 scheme. Students were initially interviewed in mid semester one and followed up in semester two, 2013. Interviews were analysed using content and thematic analysis.

Outcomes:
Two broad themes were identified: university progression and transition and benefits associated with the E12 scheme. Student's responses indicated that they perceived the E12 scheme to be beneficial in assisting them to come to university and all students had transitioned by the second semester. Student's also identified that the benefits package assisted in their transition from secondary schooling to higher education.

Print Close