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More opportunities for students from poorer backgrounds


14 May 2014

New goals have been set to ensure a student’s background is no barrier to entering further or higher education.

As part of the publication of outcome agreements for colleges and universities, Education Secretary, Michael Russell, announced an increase of 2.5 percentage points in the proportion of students from the most deprived communities who could expect a place at a university in Scotland by 2016-17 compared to 2011-12. Universities are taking a range of actions to widen participation including developing their admissions policies to take into account students’ backgrounds and considering how summer schools and other programmes could focus on students from deprived or non-traditional backgrounds.

The Scottish Funding Council also expects the number of students articulating from college to second or third year of university to increase to more than 4,000 by 2016-17 – a 41% rise from 2011-12 – in today’s publication.

Mr Russell said: “Outcome agreements give a greater transparency to the work our universities and colleges do. They allow us to chart the real progress that has been made in the three years since their introduction and demonstrate how the sectors are contributing to our national outcomes. Today’s publication sets an ambitious agenda for the coming years and our investment of £1.6 billion into further and higher education.

Laurence Howells, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council said: “Colleges and universities are continuing to be ambitious for Scotland and for their learners. In the college sector mergers are leading to better support for students, a wider curriculum and more students being able continue seamlessly to university courses.

“Universities are widening access to higher education in other ways too as well as continuing to perform world-leading research and support innovation in our economy. Today’s announcement is good news and we should all be proud of the achievements of our colleges and universities.”