University education has the potential to change lives

A university education makes a difference. University graduates don’t just earn more than non-graduates, they also tend to be healthier, more engaged and more satisfied with their lives. They have more choices. 

Unfortunately, however, not everyone has the same opportunity access to tertiary studies. And one of the main barriers are our expectations - based on experiences growing up, what our parents do, our teachers and school, the attitudes of our peers and our exposure - or lack of exposure - to others who have studied at university.  

Enabling opportunities for all students 

Aspire is the University’s outreach program, founded on the belief that students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds can succeed at university. We encourage and enable students from low socio-economic backgrounds and rural, regional and remote areas to consider, apply for and successfully participate in tertiary education.  

We do this in three ways: 

Each of these programs, draw upon evidence informed methods to understand the mechanisms that best enable students preparedness for access to, and success at, university. 

Opportunity beyond university 

One of the key differentiators between Aspire and other universities’ outreach programs is the emphasis we place on life after university. After all, we believe that university study is not simply an end in itself but a vital step on the journey to social, economic, personal and career advancement.  

To this end, we partner with leading Sydney-based businesses such as tech companies Atlassian and Salesforce and law firm Colin Biggers Paisley, where students engage with graduates and industry mentors in the business world so they experience first-hand where their tertiary studies can take them.  

Enabling student access to tertiary education  

Aspire is UNSW’s flagship outreach program. It aims to: 

  • Showcase  the opportunities a tertiary education can offer by providing valuable learning experiences 
  • Enrich students’ development of the skills required for success at university 
  • Equip students with practical knowledge to make informed decisions about their future studies 
  • Encourage students’ motivation and confidence to identify and self-determine their educational journey  
  • Enable effective student transition to university  

How the Aspire program works 

Aspire engages more than 7,000 students a year across primary and secondary schools. These students come from over partner 50 schools in both metropolitan Sydney and regional & rural NSW, each of which experience forms of educational disadvantage. 

We work with our partners to deliver learning experiences in school, on campus and through innovative industry mentoring.