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by Tom Freeman
15 January 2015
More college students are finishing their course

More college students are finishing their course

The number of students completing their course at further education is at an all-time high, according to figures released today.

Annual College Performance Indicators, published by the Scottish Funding Council, reveal 33,676 students finished their course, 66 per cent of those who started.

Shona Struthers, chief executive of Colleges Scotland, said the figures proved colleges punch above their weight in the face of major reform and falling budgets. “A high proportion of people studying in colleges start with no qualifications at all, so the rising level of those successfully completing their courses is most welcome,” she said.

The new figures also show full-time student numbers are up. There were 59,507 full time funded students aged 16 to 24 in colleges, an increase of two per cent on last year.

Education Secretary Angela Constance said the figures validated the government’s reforms of the sector, including the merger of smaller colleges into regional centres to save money and focus teaching expertise into career-led courses since 2012.

“It is clear that the move to college courses that lead to a job was the right one both for our economy and for young people seeking the skills to get into employment, something which has also been reflected in recent youth employment levels,” she said.

The Scottish Government also welcomed an increase in Scots-domiciled students entering Scottish higher education institutions, which has gone up by eight per cent.

However Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education Labour's Iain Gray said there were still fewer FE students overall under the SNP, adding "part-time places in FE and HE are a real concern too, and they have been decimated in FE and continue to drop in HE, by 13% in the past year. Part-time places are needed to help people looking to study while juggling family or work commitment, but there are clearly fewer places for them.”

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