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A new national study has found that the proportion of students who accessed higher education through non-ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) pathways over the past decade has steadily increased, although the ATAR route remains the pathway for the majority of students. The report Equity implications of non-ATAR pathways: Participation, academic outcomes, and student experience found that alternative pathways such as Vocational Education and Training courses, access schemes and enabling programs were increasingly being used by students to gain admission to university.

Students who entered university either through VET, mature age provisions, or on ‘another basis’, were found to have lower retention rates in their first year and over their course enrolment and lower first-year and course-weighted average marks. Lead author Dr Ian Li said “The findings call for better support of students who enter through VET, mature age provisions or other admission pathways.”

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