Award for children in care initiative

A joint project between La Trobe University and Federation University to start increasing the number of children in care who go on to university has won an Australian Financial Review Higher Education Award.

La Trobe University’s Dr Andrew Harvey, who accepted the AFR’s Equity & Opportunity Award in Sydney last night, said: “Care leavers are a critically underrepresented group in higher education and a priority area for action.

“Up until this project, no one in Australia was focussed on care leavers as an equity group in higher education. Data suggested the transition rate of care leavers into higher education was extremely low, with perhaps as few as one per cent of them accessing it in their lifetimes.”

The research of Dr Harvey’s team at La Trobe University’s Centre for Higher Education Equity and Diversity Research has been referenced by the Senate Community Affairs References Committee report into Out of Home Care.

“Since 2015, La Trobe University has worked with Federation University to develop the Higher Education for Care Leavers Strategy,” said Dr Harvey. “The strategy encompasses a number of initiatives from outreach to applications, enrolments and student support including bursaries.

“There are now 122 care leaver undergraduate students at La Trobe University and Federation University.

“The greater number of care leavers enrolling in and re-enrolling at the two institutions is a direct result of the strategy through the provision of outreach to flexible learning schools and support, including financial aid, to current students.”

Media contact: Tim Newhouse – – 94792315 / 0416306759