You going to uni?’: Exploring how regional young people navigate into higher education
(Ethics approvals: SA Department for Education Ref #2020-0021; SERAP #2020016; University of Wollongong #HREC2020/012)
I am from the University of Wollongong, and I am inviting you to participate in a research project. The aim of this study is to understand why many regional students start, but do not complete their university studies. As senior secondary school students are considering their post-schooling options this is a crucial point in time - regardless of whether or not they are considering university - where some of the complexities around working towards future goals may be better understood. Risk of attrition is best understood through the students themselves, and how they perceive their future goals, barriers to achieving them, and the pertinent issues they raise in relation to post-school decision-making.

I invite you to participate in short survey or an interview  to gain your insights as staff in various roles, who support these students.

Dr Janine Delahunty
2020 NCSEHE Equity Research Fellow
University of Wollongong
Phone: +61 2 4221 3396. Email:

If you have any questions about the project you can contact me and I will be happy to answer any queries or comments you may have


If you choose to be included, participation will involve one semi-structured interview which should take no longer than 30-45 minutes (due to current COVID19 restrictions this will be by phone, Zoom or similar). Alternatively, you may choose to complete an anonymous online survey which should take no more than 10-15 minutes.

Interviews will be audio-recorded for transcription purposes and deidentified prior to data analysis. You may request a copy of the transcript and data analysis will proceed only after your approval. Only the named researcher will have access to the data. The transcriptionist will provide signed agreement to confidentiality.

You will also be given the opportunity to opt into providing feedback on the draft resources and recommendations.

The kinds of questions that will be asked in the interview and the survey are: What is your university role? What kind of support do you provide regional students? What are some of the specific issues that regional students experience? What are the types of issues that students from regional areas encounter when deciding to enrol in university study? What have you found helpful in supporting regional students navigating the movement to university, and/or with persisting? What recommendations do you have for better supporting regional students?

Alternatively, if you prefer to complete the anonymous online survey please go to this link

POSSIBLE RISKS, INCONVENIENCES AND DISCOMFORTS: The research requires 30-45 minutes of your time for the semi-structured interview or 10-15 minutes for the survey and while I foresee no risk to you, should participation unintentionally cause anxiety you are encouraged to contact Lifeline (131 114).

Your involvement in the study is voluntary, so you may withdraw from the study at any time and withdraw any data that you have provided to that point. Refusal to participate in the study or withdraw will not affect your relationship with the researcher, the school, or the universities involved. If you would like to withdraw please email or contact Janine Delahunty (details above) and she will arrange to withdraw your data from the project. Please note that it is not possible to withdraw anonymous survey data once submitted.
FUNDING OF THE RESEARCH: This study is funded by a National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) Equity Fellowship grant. The data may be used by the Federal Government and National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, Curtin University, who are the funders of the research project (such as in mass media promotion of project findings, related events, workshops, presentations or publications).

I anticipate that this research will provide insight into perspectives of regional students, from the students themselves as well as from staff who support them, to avoid ‘collective or mythic constructions’ of these environments and issues. The data collected will contribute to identifying approaches to better support students from regional areas to realise personal aspirations and equitable access to what students desire in life.

All material produced from the project will include appropriate acknowledgement of the participants who contribute, to ensure respectful recognition.

With written and signed permission, the deidentified data may be used for research related presentations, articles and/or as exemplars for curriculum documents that will be developed so that teachers at other schools and learning establishments (e.g. youth centres) can reproduce digital storytelling for their students. The digital stories may also be used by the Federal Government and Curtin University who are the funders of the research project.

At the end of the project research related material will be stored on password protected computers which will only be accessible to the named researcher. After a period of five years all project related data will be erased from the computers.

Findings from the study will be published in social sciences journals, reports and may form the basis for conference presentations. Confidentiality is assured, and you will not be identified in any part of the research. 

If you would like to take part in an interview or would like more information, please contact Janine by email

ETHICS REVIEW AND COMPLAINTS: This study has been reviewed by the Social Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of Wollongong (HREC2020/012). Ongoing monitoring of the research is the responsibility of the researchers listed above, and annual progress reports are to be submitted by the researchers to the UOW Research Ethics Unit. If you have any concerns or complaints regarding the way this research has been conducted, you can contact the UoW Ethics Officer on +61 2 4221 3386 or email

Thank you for your interest in this study
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