SFC news published since 2018. See SFC archived content for earlier news articles.

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has published a new report on the movement of students between college and university courses.

The report looks at the academic credit universities give students for achieving Higher National Certificates (HNCs) and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) at college. The way this credit can be used to progress onto various stages of a degree course is known as articulation.

Today’s report shows that, in 2017-18, just over 7,826 students entered university after gaining HNC/HND qualifications at college. Of these 4,812 were able to move directly into either the second or third year of their university course, a figure that has increased by 10% in the past four years. Overall, HNC/HND articulating students accounted for over a quarter of all students beginning a first degree course at a Scottish university.

There is evidence that articulation makes a significant contribution to fairer access with more than 40% of people going to university from Scotland’s most disadvantaged backgrounds entering via an HNC or HND college course. The report shows that it is also an important route for disabled and care experienced learners. Additionally, it plays a part in increasing ethnic diversity in Scotland’s universities with almost 8% of articulating students coming from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

The report is the first set of statistics to be produced from a revised National Articulation Database. The database has been designed to support more collaborative working between colleges and universities and to provide the evidence needed to create new pathways and better choices for learners.

Commenting on todays’ publication, Karen Watt, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said:

“This is an important report which uses new methods developed by SFC to give us the best understanding yet of this aspect of the learner journey. Articulation is one of the increasingly varied options offered by Scotland’s colleges and universities to improve the learner journey. There is more to be done to understand how it can be made to work even better but it is really encouraging to see the contribution it already makes to diversity and fairer access.”

Derek Smeall, vice principal for curriculum, planning and performance at New College Lanarkshire, said:

“The revised National Articulation Database has enormous potential. In the future it will provide definitive evidence upon which colleges and universities can further develop progression routes for learners.”

Richard McGookin, Director of Planning at Heriot-Watt University, said:

“Routes from college to university provide an important destination for college leavers and an increasing fraction of the university’s intake, so it is important we can understand in which subjects and courses and with which colleges articulation is working for us and where there might be opportunities to do more. 

“As illustrated in this report, the National Articulation Database is a resource which provides an unprecedented level of robust detail in a transparent and user-friendly way to help us build and maintain the routes and guide and support students along them.”

Read the full report: Articulation from Scottish Colleges to Scottish Universities 2017-18.