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Report highlights progress to fair access targets

Students sitting in front of building

7 Apr 2020

The Scottish Funding Council’s latest report on widening access shows that almost 5,000 entrants to first degree courses in 2018-19 came from Scotland’s most deprived areas.

The report focuses on the socio-economic status of students and on protected characteristics such as gender, race and disability as well as those having experience of care. It measures how many are setting out on degree courses, how many remained in higher education after a year, and their achievements at the end of their studies.

According to the report, 4,900 students from the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland started at a Scottish university in 2018-19, representing 15.9% of Scottish-domiciled full-time first degree entrants. This brings the proportion of disadvantaged students to within just over 4% of the Commission on Widening Access’s target for 2030.

Despite a 2.6% drop in the first year retention rate overall for disadvantaged students, more students from care experience backgrounds continued with their university studies beyond the first year with the retention figure rising by 5.6%.