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Special guidance issued for 2020 pass rates

University of Edinburgh

26 Aug 2020

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has today issued special guidance to universities.

The move comes in response to the decision by the Cabinet Secretary for Education on 11 August to award grades for 2020 SQA Highers and Advanced Highers according to teachers’ estimates. The Scottish Government subsequently committed to making provision for those with the required grades to have a place at college or university.

According to initial analysis, the 2020 pass rate for Highers is up by over 14%, with the Advanced Higher Pass rate increasing by 13.7%.

Today’s guidance recognises that universities will have made admission decisions based on the initial results published by the SQA on 4 August. Many applicants rejected on the basis of those results now hold upgraded awards which meet universities’ entry requirements. The Scottish Government is therefore removing financial penalties for universities’ over-recruitment of full-time Scottish or EU students.

The Scottish Funding Council has confirmed it will fund all increases in Scottish full-time undergraduate admissions resulting from the national increases in exam pass rates, providing that universities fill their existing funded places for 2020-21. SFC will also continue to fund the places of this larger intake of students as they move through their four of five year degree programmes.

The Scottish Government has also removed the current cap on the number of students enrolling for health related subjects such as medicine, nursing and midwifery.

The universities admissions service, UCAS, will provide SFC with information on admissions to individual universities. Universities will also be asked to provide SFC with regular enrolment updates.

Further information on today’s announcement.