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“Shining a Light” on Mature-Aged Students In, and From, Regional and Remote Australia


This article shines a light on a little-known cohort of higher education participants, mature-aged students in, and from, regional and remote Australia – the focus of a National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education mixed-methods study. Notable patterns were found in the quantitative data; for instance, compared to their metropolitan counterparts, higher proportions of regional and remote students were older, female, from low socio-economic status areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and studied online and/or part-time. The presentation of four vignettes from the interviews uncovers the stories behind the numbers, revealing students’ diverse and complex circumstances; two of the students shared experiences of facing systemic obstacles, while the other two described receiving invaluable institutional support. The obstacles can be attributed to systems designed for “ideal”, “implied” and “traditional” students, and entrenched attitudes that privilege some “types” of students over others and limit the aim of full participation for all students.

Published: 2021-08-03
Pages:18 to 27
How to Cite
Crawford, N., & Emery, S. (2021). “Shining a Light” on Mature-Aged Students In, and From, Regional and Remote Australia. Student Success, 12(2), 18-27.

Author Biographies

Curtin University
Australia Australia

Nicole Crawford is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE). She was a 2019/20 NCSEHE Equity Fellow and investigated proactive approaches to supporting the mental wellbeing of mature-aged students in regional and remote Australia. Prior to the Fellowship, she was a Lecturer in Pre-degree Programs at the University of Tasmania (UTAS). Her research focuses on equity and inclusion in higher education, enabling education, and student and staff mental wellbeing.

University of Tasmania
Australia Australia

Sherridan Emery (PhD) is an early career researcher exploring the field of wellbeing, with a particular focus on cultural wellbeing. Her research focuses on journeys towards a more sustainable future through cultural and community participation. Sherridan is a research assistant at the University of Tasmania in the Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment and the Faculty of Education.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795