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Access to tertiary education institutions in six nations, New Zealand, Australia, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Japan : a comparative study of funding : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Social Policy at Massey University
This project is an examination of international experience, to determine what tertiary funding, and student aid policies, New Zealand should employ to enhance participation of traditionally under-represented groups. It consist of a comparative policy analysis of five other nations with comparable tertiary institutions and equality of access objectives: Australia, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Japan. Through analysing the experiences of these countries and examining relevant research, it was confirmed that significant differences exist between the tertiary participation patterns of privileged groups of people and the participation patterns of lower socio-economic groups, ethnic minorities and women. Lower socio-economic groups and ethnic minorities are internationally under-represented in the tertiary education populace. In most countries studied women have numerical parity with their male cohorts, however women are proportionately over-represented in part-time and extramural studies. Of those disadvantaged students that do acccss tertiary education, many are concentrated in courses with lenient entry pre-requisites and mediocre anticipated financial returns. The thesis concludes that the participation rates of these historically disadvantaged groups will not improve unless: (i) the government adopts the primary role in funding tertiary education; (ii) tuition fees are abolished, or at least made moderate and uniform; and (iii) the student aid is enhanced, particularly the student maintenance grant.