Home | Top Stories | UA calls to remove caps on Indigenous university places 
UA chief Catriona Jackson. Picture: Supplied.

UA calls to remove caps on Indigenous university places 

Australia’s peak higher education body has called on the government to uncap university places for Indigenous peoples living in urban areas.

Universities Australia said the move would help Australia achieve its target of having 70 per cent of First Nations people aged between 25 and 34 obtain a tertiary qualification by 2031.

“Today, almost one in two young Australians in their 20s have a university degree, but only seven per cent of young Indigenous Australians do,” UA chief Catriona Jackson said. 

“Successive governments have tried to close the Indigenous education gap, yet they are still massively underrepresented in our universities.

“The attainment rate for Indigenous peoples living in major urban areas is one-third of the rate for non-Indigenous Australians. This is not good enough.”

Under current government policy, only Indigenous peoples living in regional and remote areas are guaranteed a university place.

This is despite an estimated 75 per cent of people who identify as Indigenous and/or Torres Strait Islander living in cities.

The federal government introduced its first higher education target for Indigenous peoples in its new National Agreement on Closing the Gap in 2020. 

Productivity Commission data released last month shows that despite improvements, the government is not on track to achieve 70 per cent of First Nations representation in tertiary education by 2031.

In its annual Indigenous strategy report, Universities Australia found close to 100 per cent of Australia’s universities have specific recruitment activities or programs for potential Indigenous students.

More than half indicated a “whole-of-university” approach to Indigenous student support, and more than three-quarters had mechanisms to ensure the representation of Indigenous views. 

However, less than half of universities referred to having an anti-racism statement, policy or framework.

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