A surge in low socioeconomic students attending university shows Labor reforms are developing the talent that will help drive a high skilled and productive economy.


Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, said for the first time, the number of university offers made to Australians from disadvantaged backgrounds has surpassed 40,000, a rise of almost 19 per cent since 2009.


"The Gillard Government's removal of capping on university places has seen 150,000 extra students enrol at university," Senator Evans said.


"This growth is, in part, being driven by increasing numbers of young people from low socioeconomic backgrounds.


"Until the Gillard Government removed the cap on university places the benefits associated with higher education have eluded many Australians. Our reforms mean we are increasingly tapping into the potential of all Australians, not just the privileged."


In response to the Bradley report, Transforming Australia's Higher Education System, the Labor Government set the ambitious target to ensure 20 per cent of people enrolling in an undergraduate course are from low socioeconomic backgrounds by 2020.


"Expanding the number of graduates in Australia is an economic imperative," Senator Evans said.


Skills Australia has forecast that by 2025 a third of all jobs will require a minimum of a bachelor degree qualification.


"It's not just that it is unfair to lock people out of university. We can't afford to," Senator Evans said.