Impact of Low Levels of Income

The Impact of Low Levels of Income on the Life and Study Success of Australian Social Work Students.

The primary aim of this larger study was to further explore the impact of low or insufficient income on the lives and study success of a national cohort of current social work students.

Key details:

  • Duration: Jan 2015 – Jan 2016
  • Funding: In-kind support from partners
  • Academic Group: Social Group
  • Keywords: Social Work Students, Study/Work/Life Balance, Poverty

Project description

This project grew out of earlier work conducted by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) who undertook initial research into the impact on students of current levels of government financial assistance using a sample of its own student members.

Researchers were seeking to better understand the experiences of social work students studying at Australian universities and to better understand how insufficient income impacts study success and attrition rates. In an online survey in late 2015, a sample of 2,320 students from 29 Australian social work programs reported on their current circumstances, and their lived experiences of juggling life, study and work. The findings suggest that for current social work students, adverse outcomes including poverty decreased well being and withdrawal from their studies may be increasingly difficult to avoid. Quantitative and qualitative findings have been presented at national and international forums and conferences and publications are forthcoming.

Project partners

James Cook University and the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Project team

  • Project CI: Associate Professor Susan Gair, JCU
  • Project CI: Mr Len Baglow- AASW

Key contact: Chief Investigator, Associate Professor Susan Gair,