Teaching regional students from low socioeconomic backgrounds: Key success factors in Australian higher education

  • Marcia Devlin, Prof Victoria University
  • Jade McKay Deakin University


This paper reports on the findings from an Australian study exploring how best to facilitate the success of students from low socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds who are studying at regional universities. Interviews with 69 successful regional students from low SES backgrounds, and 26 staff identified as experts in supporting these students, were carried out across six regional universities. The findings show that effective teaching was viewed by all respondents as critical to student success. This paper presents four key success factors from this research, offering insight into what constitutes effective teaching of regional students from both student and staff perspectives, and in line with relevant literature. These success factors include: understanding and responding to the particular circumstances and needs of students; facilitating students being and feeling connected to university; student preparedness for the realities of university study; and, an inclusive, engaged approach to pedagogy.