It was the fear of the three national student/trainee bodies that the 1982-83 summer would prove to be an economic disaster for many thousands of students, and that this would in turn have negative consequences for the principle of open entry to tertiary education. A study was mounted to establish what in fact happened to whom over that summer, with a view to using the information obtained to influence subsequent government policy regarding tertiary education. My concern in this present paper focuses on the connections between research and the policy making process. To this end I restate briefly the major findings and offer a modified discussion of the implications of these data for the question of access to tertiary education - particularly with respect to gender, ethnic identity, class, age and type of tertiary institution. Apart from this limited overlap the two papers are distinct. Consequently any person interested in the original research is directed to the earlier paper.