A growing ambition

UNSW’s ASPIRE program, now in its fourth year, continues to increase the number of disadvantaged students enrolling at university.

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Students fromTullibigeal Central School 'graduate' from ASPIRE

UNSW’s ASPIRE program, now in its fourth year, continues to increase the number of disadvantaged students enrolling at university.

ASPIRE is a social inclusion initiative that actively promotes university to primary and high school students from low socio-economic backgrounds. It has assisted several thousand students since its inception in 2007.

This year, 474 university offers were made by UAC to Year 12 school leavers from ASPIRE- affiliated schools, up from 253 in 2009.

Sixty of those students enrolled at UNSW in 2012 compared with 40 students in 2011, said Director of Student Equity, Ann Jardine.

“There is no doubt that the ASPIRE program is having a very positive influence in encouraging students from low socio-economic backgrounds to consider higher education. The increased enrolments are a direct result of the interaction between ASPIRE staff, UNSW students and school students,” she said.

ASPIRE received a $4.6 million funding boost from the federal government at the end of 2011. The funding has allowed the program to expand with 10 primary schools and 20 high schools in Sydney now taking part, as well as 25 regional NSW schools. 

The funding will enable regional students to travel to Sydney and experience university life.

Extra funding from Citi Foundation has secured the appointment of the first ASPIRE Indigenous Project Officer.

“Aboriginal students make up to 92 percent of the student population in some of our regional schools.The project officer will engage directly with Indigenous students,” said Fiona Nicholson, ASPIRE Project Manager.

The ASPIRE team will visit schools in Gilgandra, Coonabarabran, Binnaway, Baradine and Dunedoo in the Warrumbungle region of Central NSW later this month as part of the Regional Roadshow.

Watch ASPIRE on UNSWTV

Media contact: Fran Strachan | 9385 8732 | 0429 416 070