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Fair Access

We are committed to investing in education that is accessible to learners from all backgrounds and all of our actions contribute to delivering the targets and recommendations outlined in A Blueprint for Fairness.

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We use our investments to do this in a number of ways:

  1. Core funds for colleges and universities.
  2. Access programmes to directly assist school pupils in getting into colleges and universities (Schools for Higher Education Programme and ) and a programme to assist adult returners (Scottish Widening Access Programme).
  3. Strategic programmes to enable bridges and support into the university sector.
  4. Our strategy for articulation.
  5. Our National Ambition for Care-experienced Students.
  6. Supporting policy for groups underrepresented or under-achieving in comparison to their peers such as carers, veterans, BSL learners and estranged students.
  7. Funding and policy support for mental health.
  8. Funding to address inequalities in gender, race, and disabilities.

SFC Report on Widening Access

This report presents data relating to the Commission on Widening Access targets, and on Scottish-domiciled entrants to higher and further education in Scotland by socio-economic deprivation, gender, ethnicity, disability, care experience and age.

Current and previous editions are available on our Statistics publication schedule.

Commission on Widening Access (CoWA)

The Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2014-15 set out the ambition that a child born at that time in one of Scotland’s most deprived communities should, by the time of leaving school, have the same chance of going to university as one born in one of the country’s least deprived areas.

The Commission on Widening Access was established to advise Ministers on how to meet this ambition. Its final report, A Blueprint for Fairness was published in March 2016.

Commissioner for Fair Access

The Commissioner for Fair Access, Sir Peter Scott, is responsible for leading a system wide effort to deliver fair access in Scotland, including the development of a framework for fair access.

The fifth annual report - Maintaining the Momentum Towards Fair Access: annual report 2022 - has been published.

Other reports by the Commissioner, as well as various discussion papers and speeches are available on the Commissioner for Fair Access website.