“You going to uni?”: Imagining futures from the perspectives of regional students
In Australia, only 20 percent of regional people in the 25 to 34 age range have a degree qualification. This is less than half the rate of their metropolitan counterparts (Taylor, 2019). While the number of regional students in higher education has increased steadily (NCSEHE, 2020), they are far more likely to withdraw. To understand factors contributing to early departure, this project sought to explore aspects of “being regional” from the perspectives of regional students themselves. They rarely lack motivation towards their hoped-for futures, yet often contend with equity-related challenges. “Possible selves” theory (Markus & Nurius, 1986) enabled focus on students’ strengths and motivations, amidst the realities of educational disadvantage. Equitable educational achievement requires faculty development that responds to evidence-based understanding of the lived complexities of students.