The conventional wisdom in Australia is that policy aimed at reducing imbalances in the representation of different socioeconomic classes in the tertiary sector should be aimed at encouraging completion of high school. The analyses in this paper suggest, however, that most of the differences in the socioeconomic mix of tertiary students are due to different propensities of high school graduates to pursue tertiary studies. The relatively low rate of university participation among rural students, however, needs to be addressed by encouraging the completion of high school.