Diversity and inclusion programs

RMIT’s social inclusion programs for students aim to increase access to further education, build a more diverse student population, and provide an equitable and inclusive experience for all students.

Supporting and tracking access by under-represented groups

RMIT’s equity access schemes ensure that people from the widest range of backgrounds have an opportunity to access RMIT programs. Consideration for entry applies for mature age applicants, Indigenous Australians, applicants from a regional or rural area or from a non-English speaking background, a woman applying for a program in which women are under-represented, people living with a disability or medical condition, or who have experienced disadvantaged financial circumstances, and/or have experienced difficult personal circumstances.

We are proud that RMIT’s equity access schemes are effective mechanisms to grow enrolments from priority equity groups. We analyse and report on applications and admissions of under-represented groups annually. For applications for 2022 entry, the most recently available data shows just over 38,000 undergraduate and vocational education applicants received equity consideration, resulting in 8,700 applicants receiving an offer for an RMIT program through these equity access schemes.

For 2021 applications through the centralised Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC), of the 5,700 VTAC undergraduate enrolments:

Priority equity group Percentage of all VTAC undergraduate enrolments Percentage of successful applicants who gained entry via an RMIT equity access scheme
Low Socio-economic status 15% 87%
Indigenous students .34% 100%
With a disability 9% 82%
From a regional or remote area 8% 100%

Schools Network Access Program (SNAP)

RMIT’s Schools Network Access Program (SNAP) commenced in 2001 as an innovative partnership with a small number of schools in the north of Melbourne, focused on enhancing tertiary access and participation for students from communities that have been under-represented in university enrolments.

The SNAP partnership has grown to include over 220 secondary schools throughout metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

View the complete list of SNAP partnership schools.

SNAP outcomes

In 2022, 3,254 students received an RMIT offer through the SNAP priority access scheme

SNAP-enrolled student outcomes demonstrate that:

  • pre-entry exploration of disciplines and industry contributes to student success
  • equity scholarships support the retention and achievement of students from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • the SNAP priority access commitment increases opportunity for students from SNAP partner schools
  • SNAP students consistently demonstrate the same patterns of achievement as their non-SNAP peers, with equivalent rates of retention and successful subject /course completion.

I Belong

I Belong is a program of on-campus experiences for selected SNAP secondary school students designed to increase aspiration for tertiary education.

I Belong offers an innovative approach to discipline exploration through applied workshops, presentations from industry experts and peer-delivered modules.

In 2022, over 2,000 students participated in I Belong programs on RMIT campuses. Programs range from multidisciplinary Tertiary Experience Days to five-day intensive, discipline-specific experiences.

I Belong programs are distinctly different across the middle years (Years 9–10) and senior years of schooling (Years 11–12), and align with the student lifecycle and key academic and developmental transition points. I Belong guides students from campus familiarisation and awareness of disciplines, courses, careers and industries, to university access and support programs, through to transition to tertiary study.

Middle years

Programs for Years 9–10 students are applied learning experiences drawing upon key industry partnerships and the opportunities available at an urban university of technology and design.

I Belong middle years programs enable students to:

  • discover and explore a university campus
  • demystify disciplines, careers and tertiary programs
  • experience the city as an exciting and accessible hub of industries and opportunities.

Senior years

Senior years programs build on students’ discipline and career knowledge, with particular concentration on equipping them to succeed in tertiary education. Students undertake practical workshops on topics including time management, becoming an independent learner and choosing a tertiary program.

I Belong senior years programs demonstrate a strong focus on:

  • transition to tertiary studies
  • discipline and subject exploration through a master class model
  • study skills
  • career exploration and development.

RMIT partners with the following organisations to deliver I Belong programs:

SNAP Champions

SNAP Champions are current RMIT tertiary students who applied through the SNAP priority access scheme. SNAP Champions are paid employees of RMIT and contribute to I Belong through the delivery of interactive presentations focusing on demystifying the transition from high school to further education, dispelling myths and misconceptions.

Many of our SNAP Champions have been successful in RMIT’s allocation of $1.6 million in equity scholarships.

Student support services

RMIT receives additional funding through the federal government’s Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme (HEPPP) to provide a range of on-campus and online services to help students succeed.

Learn more about support services available to current RMIT students

Student success and employment outcomes: example focus on gender

RMIT strategies and policies to advance gender equity are continuing to achieve the desired outcomes as female students close the gap in access, and outcomes. RMIT tracks commencement, participation, attrition and successful completion by gender (and a range of other priority equity groups) and the most recent indicates that there are not large discrepancies at an institutional level between male and female students. However, the headcount of male and female students at a college level indicates more work is still required to address gender segregation.

For 2021, the most recent year for which data is available:

  • At the University-level, the male participation (51.6%) remains slightly higher than for females (48.2%). At the school-level, there are disparities in participation rates across RMIT.
  • While the participation rates for Gender X remain too low to make proper comparisons, numbers in many schools continue to grow; the headcount of students in the Gender X category grew by 42pp between 2020-2021 at the RMIT-level from a low base. 
  • At the University level, attrition rates are generally even between female and male students, and do not appear to be impacted heavily by gender. Across all age-groups, attrition rates do not vary by more than ~2.2pp between males and females.
  • There has been a gender-disparity in 4yr Completion Rate since at least 2012, with female students consistently having a higher rate than males. However, this difference has been steadily narrowing over the 2012-2018 period (from ~10pp in 2012 to 6pp in 2018).
  • Female students’ higher success rate does not appear to be impacted by full-time vs. part-time study participation, and the parity of attrition rates between genders does not differ much between this type of attendance either.

At the college level, there has not been a shift in gender participation from 2020 to 2021. Participation in the College of Business and Law is almost at parity, with a participation rate at 49.2% for females and 50.7% for males. STEM’s participation did not change significantly from 2020 and saw a higher participation rate amongst males (67.9%) compared to females (32.0%). DSC had a noticeably higher participation rate amongst females compared to male (64.6% and 35.0% respectively), again not changing significantly from the previous year.

RMIT’s efforts to promote gender equity show positive results, seeing improvements in attrition and success rates for both genders, with variations across colleges and schools. Participation rates remained relatively stable, with minor shifts.

For reporting to government on student gender, RMIT is required to use the term ‘Gender X’ in alignment with the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender (2013), representing the category of Indeterminate/Intersex/Unspecified. It refers to people who do not exclusively identify as either male or female, indicating a non-binary gender identity. Although the numbers presented in the data below are low, RMIT has witnessed a rise in the selection of the gender X category during enrolment. This change likely reflects the growing awareness of gender diversity, as well as students’ increased confidence in sharing this identity.  The school with the highest rates of gender X participation is the School of Art, which experienced a small increase in gender X students in 2021. Attrition, success and completion rates for students indicating gender X remain a concern, addressed in more recent years through staff capability development on this cohort, and ensuring recognition of preferred name through RMIT systems. 

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.