Indigenous tutorial assistance scheme: tertiary tuition and beyond: transitioning with strengths and promoting opportunities
Wilks, J, Radnidge Fleeton, E & Wilson, K 2017, 'Indigenous tutorial assistance scheme: tertiary tuition and beyond: transitioning with strengths and promoting opportunities', Australian Universities Review, vol. 59, no. 1, pp. 14-23.
The Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme-Tertiary Tuition (ITAS-TT) has provided Australian government funding for one-to-one and group tutorial study support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students attending Australian universities since 1989. It has been a central plank supporting Indigenous university students in their studies. However, evaluation of the scheme has identified quality limitations, under-utilisation, administrative burdens, and eligibility issues, and criticised the deficit or low academic expectations assumptions inherent in the scheme. In the 2016-2017 Budget the Australian government modified ITAS into an Indigenous Student Success Program. Reporting on research undertaken at a time of impending changes to funding arrangements and the continuation of ITAS, this paper builds on recent research into the transition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders into higher education. The paper investigates the scheme through the perspectives of ITAS tutors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students receiving ITAS tutoring in two regional universities in New South Wales. Qualitative research found that ITAS tutoring has enabled many students to manage their transition through university and complete their studies. Students and tutors identified limitations in the scheme in terms of guidelines, institutional expectations, access to learning management systems, and the timing of support. The study outcomes suggest that ITAS provides valuable support but has become static, and is not keeping up with developments in online learning and administration.