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The Scottish Funding Council has today, 10 July 2019, launched a consultation seeking views on the policy and funding allocations from its Widening Access and Retention Fund (WARF).

In support of our commitment to creating a genuinely level playing field where further and higher education is accessible to all, SFC allocates funding to universities with a high intake from Scotland’s most deprived areas (SIMD20) and where retention rates tend to be lower. The funding is intended to support the successful outcomes of students from the most disadvantaged and deprived backgrounds, with the ultimate aim being to secure equalised retention rates.

Given the progress already being made on widening access to higher education, with 2017-18 results showing that 15.6% of first degree entrants to university were from SIMD20, up from 13.8% in 2016-17, SFC is reviewing the funds to ensure they are fit for purpose to deliver the implementation of the Commission for Widening Access (CoWA) recommendations.

Dr John Kemp, Director of Access, Skills and Outcome Agreements said: “The intensification of Outcome Agreements and the implementation of the Blueprint for Fairness are achieving positive change. We therefore need to ensure that these funds are having the greatest possible impact, particularly in relation to progression and outcomes. We look forward to receiving feedback from a wide range of stakeholders to help us develop the fund in a way that ensures this positive progress continues.”

A copy of the consultation can be found at WARF Consultation.