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

Scottish universities have made a commitment to offer undergraduate places to care experienced applicants who meet minimum entry requirements.

The guarantee, which has no upper age limit, was announced at Glasgow Caledonian University and was supported by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon; the principals of Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of St Andrews; and potential care experienced applicants for the next cycle of undergraduate admissions.

The guaranteed offer comes at a time when undergraduate degree places are in high demand with, on average, only half of applications likely to result in an offer. The decision reflects Scottish universities’ belief that it is important to recognise the context in which care experienced applicants have achieved their qualifications.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I warmly welcome this commitment to guarantee a place at university for care-experienced students who meet the new entry requirements.

“Education is by far the most effective means we have of improving the life chances of our young people. I am firmly committed to widening access to higher education and ensuring that all learners, regardless of their background, have an equal chance of entering university.

“It is important that every young person has access to the learning that will provide them with the skills and qualifications they need to meet their aspirations and succeed in life.”

The guarantee recognises the often very challenging circumstances in which people with care experience achieve their qualifications and the link that is known to exist between their life experiences and educational attainment. At the moment only 4% of looked-after school leavers go directly into higher education compared to 41% of all school leavers.

Duncan Dunlop, CEO of Who Cares? Scotland said:

“We welcome the guaranteed offer as it recognises that the barriers care experienced people face in accessing higher education can be felt lifelong. The fact that the guaranteed offer has no upper age limit demonstrates a commitment by universities to seek out ways to support care experienced learners beyond the statutory requirement of age 26.”

For more details see the Universities Scotland website.