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Update on progress in widening access to college and university

Students in Aberdeen

10 Aug 2016

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has published its tenth annual report on progress with widening access.

Learning for All: Measures of Success looks at university and college entry from deprived areas of Scotland, at people with disabilities and at issues around race and gender.

Amongst the findings of today’s report are that over the last three years there has been a small but significant rise in the proportion of people going to university from the 20% most deprived areas of Scotland – their numbers have risen by 1.3 percentage points since 2011-12.

The gap between retention rates for students from the 20% most deprived areas and the average for all students is narrowing. Retention for students from the most deprived 20% of neighbourhoods continued the upward trend from 84.0% in 2009-10 to 88.1% in 2014-15.

Closer collaboration between colleges and universities means more students are starting their degree studies at college and going on to graduate from a university. The number of students increased from just under 3,100 in 2011-12 to just under 4,000 in 2014-15.

Figures released by UCAS on show that the number of applicants accepted in higher education from the 20% most deprived areas was 3,800 up by 5% from last year.

John Kemp, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: “Over the ten years the Scottish Funding Council has been collecting and reporting on this information the trend has been towards a fairer and more inclusive system of further and higher education in Scotland.

“But there’s still a lot more to do and SFC shares the ambitions of the Scottish Government of making further and faster change in widening access to education.”