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There has been a significant increase in college leavers going on to university according to the College Leaver Destination report for 2019-20 published today by the Scottish Funding Council. 
Overall, while the pandemic had a negative effect on employment opportunities, the findings of the report show that universities offered attractive alternatives to learners. 
Of the 16,344 learners who left college in 2019-20, 36.7 percent of those with qualifications at SCQF level 7 or higher went on to university. A further 10.2 percent of qualifiers between SCQF levels 1 and 6 also went on to study at university. Overall, this amounted to an increase in movement to university of seven percentage points compared to last year. The publication reports on the destinations of leavers 3-6 months after qualifying.
It is important to note that this year’s survey was carried out during exceptional circumstances with the uncertainty of the second half of 2020 due to the vaccination rollout as well as most of the country remaining in lockdown for the first half of 2021. 
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020 by the World Health Organisation part way through the 2019-20 academic year. It impacted on exams and assessment arrangements as well as on students studying at the time and their ability to complete their course and qualification as planned. This had a direct impact on those who form the cohort the College Leavers taking this year’s survey.
Despite the pandemic 84.4% of those leaving the college sector went onto work, training and/or further studies. On top of this 90.3% of those leaving college who achieved SCQF 7+  also went onto work, training and/or further studies.
Martin Boyle, Director of Policy, Insight and Analytics at the Scottish Funding Council, said: 
“Today’s report highlights just how well students have done in coping with the many challenges they have had to face because of the pandemic. 
“It also shows the value of the work done by Scotland’s colleges and the importance of the pathways that exist between colleges, universities and employers in Scotland.”
College Leaver Destinations 2019-20 is available online.