Australia: twenty years of higher education expansion
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In 1986 an estimated 11% of Australian 18 to 24 year olds were enrolled in higher education (Dawkins, 1987b: 109). By 2005 just under 20% of 18 to 24 year olds were enrolled in higher education. In 1986 Australia had a structure but not the financing to support mass higher education in Trow's (1974) terms; 20 years later it has the financing but no longer the structure to support mass higher education. Another big and distinctive change in Australian higher education over the last two decades has been the growth of international students, from 4% of total enrollments in 1988 to 25% of enrollments in 2005. This chapter reports on how Australia made these changes, the strengths and weaknesses of Australia's approach and the issues these may raise for other countries. It argues that the main motive for Australia's expansion of higher education for both domestic and international students was to expand its contribution to the country's economic development; equity and student access remained an incidental consideration, increasingly overlooked as the period under review progressed.
Journal of Access Policy & Practice
© 2008 National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE). This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.