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by Tom Freeman
25 March 2015
More deprived students going to university

More deprived students going to university

A greater number from students from deprived backgrounds are going to university, according to today’s Learning for All report by the Scottish Funding Council.

The report shows a 10.1 per cent increase in students from Scotland’s most deprived 20 per cent neighbourhoods since last year, and an eight per cent rise from the poorest 40 per cent. This represents only a 0.7 per cent and one per cent rise in the overall student population, but the figures have been welcomed.

The figures represent the first year of the use of funded additional places, ring-fenced by the Scottish Government, to seven higher education institutions. The figures for these universities showed an increase in 22 per cent from the poorest neighbourhoods.

Universities Scotland convener Pete Downes said the process was only beginning.  “We’d expect it to keep delivering in the years to come, especially as the places were awarded mid-year and universities didn’t have much time to get to promote the new places to the right audience or link-up to their partnerships with schools.

“More people could benefit from the idea behind the extra places if the criteria were widened beyond a narrow measure of deprivation to include other aspects of underrepresentation,” he said.

The figures also show pupils from low participation schools are up 11.7 per cent on last year, and the number of students entering university straight after achieving further education HNQs is up 9.2 per cent.

Shona Struthers, chief executive of Colleges Scotland, said: “This increase is very good news for colleges and students. A high proportion of people studying in colleges start with no qualifications at all, so the rising level of those articulating to university is most welcome for individuals.”

Gordon Maloney, President of NUS Scotland, said: "These new statistics show colleges and universities have taken a further small step towards fair access. It's really encouraging to see access rates for our poorest students increase, and drop-out rates decrease across the board.”

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