Raising Expectations creates positive educational outcomes for young care leavers by providing integrated and consistent support, strengthening care-leavers’ transitions from care to post-secondary study.
Raising Expectations has been funded and supported by the Department of Education and Training (the department) since 2019.
The department funds Raising Expectations to support the priorities of the Youth Access Initiative, which includes supporting young people's educational and professional pathways, and developing high-quality teaching within the vocational education and training (VET) sector. These priorities play a key role in supporting young people leaving out-of-home care and the development of Victoria’s education sector.
Raising Expectations is managed by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare (the Centre) in partnership with dual-sector universities Federation University Australia, La Trobe University and Swinburne University of Technology. These organisations run Raising Expectations as a cross-sectoral collaboration to support out-of-home care leavers transitioning to VET and higher education (HE).
How does Raising Expectations improve educational opportunities for care leavers?
The aims of Raising Expectations are to raise awareness for on-campus wrap-around services for out-of-home care leavers, build capacity and confidence in care leavers, support VET and HE workers to provide integrated support to care leavers, and strengthen care leavers’ transitions to post-secondary education.
Raising Expectations engages TAFEs and dual-sector university partners to provide critical localised pathways and support services for care leavers in metropolitan and regional areas. This includes:
- expanding and strengthening connections with student support services on campuses
- increasing supports and access around bursaries, scholarships and allowances
- increasing support and access to accommodation
- establishing participation data collection for VET and HE students (the Centre reports finding to the department)
- making referrals for tuition fee-waivers under the Youth Access Initiative
- establish referral processes and pathways via similar pathways such as the department’s Reconnect program and community out-of-home care leaving services.
What supports are available?
Under the Raising Expectations program, TAFEs and dual-sector university partners provide the following supports to care leavers:
- bursary and scholarship applications
- access to financial allowances and similar supports
- VET and HE course enrolments
- referrals to tuition fee-waivers under the Youth Access Initiative
- referrals to personal and academic support
- peer support and mentoring.
Who is eligible for support?
Raising Expectations is aimed at supporting young out-of-home care leavers currently or thinking about undertaking a VET or HE course at a TAFE or partnered dual-sector university. Future students must meet the following criteria:
- be an Australian citizen aged 24 years or under, and
- have been or are currently on a Child Protection Order or a Youth Justice Order (but not currently in custody), or
- be a resident of an Education First Youth Foyer.
Raising Expectations is linked to the Skills First Youth Access Initiative which gives young care leavers access to over 800 fee-free VET courses.
Eligible care leavers are eligible can access over 800 fee-free subsidised VET courses delivered by approved Training Providers. Courses are available at the following levels:
- Certificates I to IV
- Diploma and Advanced Diploma
- Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)
- Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL).
Eligible care leavers may use credit points from the above courses towards further studies in HE.
To be eligible for a tuition fee-waiver, future students must meet the following criteria:
- be an Australian citizen aged 24 years or under; and
- have been or are currently on a Child Protection Order or a Youth Justice Order (but not currently in custody); or
- be a resident of an Education First Youth Foyer.
How to apply
Future students applying for a tuition fee-waiver must complete a Youth Access Initiative Referral Form. The form must be completed and signed-off by the following:
The eligible young person applying for a tuition fee-waiver, and:
- a representative from an authorised referral agency; or
- an authorised officer; and
- a representative from a Skills First contracted training provider.
For more information, or to access the referral form, visit the Youth Access Initiative website.
Raising Expectations saw 43 care leavers enrolled across Federation University Australia, La Trobe University and the Swinburne University of Technology in 2016. More recent figures show almost 700 care leavers were enrolled at the universities in 2021 (see 2020 to 2021 figures below).
Despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the above data shows that VET and HE enrolment in care leavers remains strong.
The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has been added as an approved training provider as of 2022.
Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions
Youth Access Initiative
Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare
Reviewed 14 September 2023