HECS deters theory fails to predict, again

…we can be pretty confident that the significant increase in the number of places in the last few years will continue to increase low SES shares of commencing students. There is a leading indicator of this in the statistics on accepted offers by Year 12 score, with the below-70 group continuing to increase its share of the total.

– my prediction of 17 July.

Fortunately, not one for the ‘corrections and clarifications’ category. As predicted, the 2007 ‘equity’ enrolment data released today (in the ‘appendices’) shows that low SES commencing students are indeed up between 2006 and 2007. Overall, the increase is about 5%.

Unfortunately more detailed comparisons between 2006 and 2007 are complicated, because the definition of low SES – a postcode in the bottom 25% – changes with each census. The total numbers for earlier years have been recalculated with 2006 census data, but not the institutional numbers.

Changes in the private provider category have also complicated things – not only are more institutions listed as they acquired access to FEE-HELP, but these providers are now reporting all students, not just those getting FEE-HELP. If I revise upwards their 2006 low SES numbers by the overall upward revision (just under 1%), the absolute number of low SES commencing students recorded at private providers is up by about 380, but the percentage of all their commencing enrolments who are low SES has declined by 1.1% to 11.8%.
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