The contours of inequality: The links between socio-economic status of students and other variables at the University of Johannesburg

Journal of Student Affairs in Africa. 2016;4(1) DOI 10.14426/jsaa.v4i1.141


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Journal of Student Affairs in Africa

ISSN: 2311-1771 (Print); 2307-6267 (Online)

Publisher: Journal of Student Affairs in Africa

Society/Institution: University of the Western Cape

LCC Subject Category: Education: Special aspects of education

Country of publisher: South Africa

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF



André van Zyl


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 7 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The low level of student success in South Africa is an intractable problem, with levels of success differing between the various groups that make up South African society. One of the major constraints influencing student success involves the socio-economic status (SES) of newly entering students. In the South African context, with its very high levels of SES inequality and other social stratifications, a better understanding of issues related to SES would allow them to be addressed in targeted ways that lead to improved student success. This study was conducted at the University of Johannesburg and used data collected between 2010 and 2015. In this study, the SES of students was determined by measuring their self-reported Living Standards Measure (LSM) level. The relationships between the SES level and various socio-demographic variables were then tested using the chi-square test with standardised residuals. The trends that emerged can assist institutions to gain a more nuanced understanding of SES and its impact in the South African context. Three clear clusters emerged each with their own distinguishing attributes and risk profiles.