Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program

Deakin promotes access to higher education and successful participation in undergraduate courses by students from low socio-economic status backgrounds. Our evidence-based program of initiatives is funded by the Commonwealth Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP).

Our values

Our work is underpinned by the Deakin Values: Excellent, Ethical, Inclusive and Sustainable. Our work is supported by policies and culture that promotes inclusion and diversity for all staff and students. We believe that a fair and diverse workplace is a key part of a quality, innovative organisation. We believe that our diverse students are an asset to both our classrooms and the workplaces into which they will graduate.

Our programs

Deakin provides programs aimed at the successful participation and completion in undergraduate courses by students from low socio-economic backgrounds, including those living in rural and remote areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, migrants and refugees. Deakin receives around $4.9M in Commonwealth Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) funding per annum from a national pool of around $150M for all Australian universities.

Educational disadvantage is a long-term problem requiring productive community partnerships. Around 25% of our HEPPP-funded resources are directed towards ongoing partnerships with low socio-economic schools in the communities Deakin serves, to ensure students are aware, motivated and academically prepared to come to university. The other 75% of our resources support the transition, progress and success of our low socio-economic students once they get to university.

Pre-uni (Partnership funding component)

Deakin Engagement and Access Program (DEAP)

DEAP encourages primary and secondary school students’ achievement and aspiration towards higher education.

We run activities with students from Year 3 to Year 12 in collaboration with around 80 schools in the Burwood, Geelong and Warrnambool regions, and with community partners including the Ardoch Foundation, The Smith Family Australia, Diversitat, AIME and the Foundation for Young Australians.

Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME)

AIME trains university students to mentor Indigenous school students and support them on a journey to further learning, work or university. AIME is a partner to Deakin, hosting its programs in Melbourne, Geelong and Warrnambool. AIME has been able to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous participation rates in post-secondary education or work – from 42% to 75% plus.


Academic enrichment programs to support university aspiration for specific high low-socio-economic enrolment schools in the Geelong area.

At uni programs (Participation funding component)

Priority Students Program

Enhances early intervention strategies and helps improve retention by:

  • identifying when students are falling behind
  • calling students personally to diagnose and refer to support services
  • using insight from calls to identify opportunities for improvement,

Equity scholarships

We offer a range of scholarships to address financial hardship and disadvantage:

Students Helping Students

No one understands what it's like to be a student better than a student. This project includes several peer support schemes focused on helping new students transition to becoming a successful university student:

  • peer-assisted study sessions
  • students Helping Students hub
  • student writing mentors
  • faculty peer-mentoring schemes.

Inclusive Curriculum and Digital Accessibility

Improvements made to a subject to make it more inclusive for disabled, indigenous, low socio-economic (LSES) or multicultural learners also tend to make it more accessible for all learners.

This project develops toolkits, checklists, exemplars and training programs to bring a broader awareness of the benefits of designing inclusive units to the Deakin teaching and learning community. Data on units which have undergone inclusive redesign have shown improvements to marks and success rates.

Deakin staff can learn more and find resources at the Inclusive Curriculum and Capacity Building project blog.

Evaluation and quality improvement

We are strengthening our processes to evaluate the outcomes of our HEPPP program of work; provide feedback to staff, Faculties and communities; report to government; and make improvements.

Pilots to address emerging needs

In 2019, we supported seven pilots to address emerging needs. In the Partnerships (Schools outreach) area we delivered a range of programs to the Warrnambool area for the first time, and partnered with Lyndale High to improve mathematics outcomes for Year 12 students. These pilots are likely to be embedded into the core DEAP program in 2020.

In the Participation funding area (i.e. for programs targeting LSES students at Deakin) we are piloting how to embed the Inclusive Education principles into the Faculty of Arts and Education’s regular teaching processes, and funding the development of a Deakin specific Indigenous Pedagogy Guide. We are also developing new training, website resources and guidelines for how to engage LSES students in:

  • Students as Partners projects
  • Employability and Deakin Hallmarks
  • DSL health and wellness services.

Lastly, we are developing a major report on the gaps and needs of Indigenous students at Deakin University which will be a focus for additional funding in 2020.

Contact us

Sarah Lambert
HEPPP, Equity and Diversity
+61 3 924 68115