Despite being home to an award-winning university, Wollongong is below the national average when it comes to residents with tertiary degrees.
In July, the outgoing federal Labor government released its annual State of Australian Cities report, which included newly released data from the 2011 census.
The report listed the percentage of males and females with a bachelor's degree or above.
In Wollongong, it is 15.5 per cent for males and 18.3 per cent for females.
The report points out this is below the national average for both men (19.5 per cent) and women (22.7 per cent).
University of Wollongong Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor John Patterson said that though the statistic was true, it did not offer the complete picture in terms of Wollongong residents possessing tertiary qualifications.
"Traditionally, the catchment of the University of Wollongong has had lower engagement with higher education than the national average but a higher than average engagement with Vocational Education and Training," Prof Patterson said.
"As the State of Australia Cities report is looking at the population 15 years of age and up, as such it reflects that history."
The statistics, based on the 2011 census, did not provide an accurate reflection of the situation today - and what the university expected in the future, he said.
"It does not fully reflect the current situation, especially the current scale of UOW, or the level of attainment of the younger part of the workforce.
"Raising the educational level of the local area is one of the key objectives of the university. The majority of Australian students studying in Wollongong are locals - half are the first in their family to attend university.
"The university is very concerned with people staying in the region when they graduate. The whole Innovation Campus concept, for example, is the largest and most visible manifestation of that," Prof Patterson said.