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by Laura Fox
05 August 2015
Older students on the rise

Older students on the rise

Figures published yesterday by UCAS show a three per cent growth in the number of applicants from Scotland obtaining a place at university, compared to last year.

24,800 applicants discovered they had secured a place at a university or college, with most of the increase coming from an extra 600 students aged over 20.

This is following a 5.5 per cent increase in Higher passes, with 2015 results reaching a record 156,000 passes across the country.

The news comes after controversy surrounding the 2015 Higher Maths exam, with teachers and students alike claiming it was too hard.

The pass mark for the exam was lowered to 34 per cent following the backlash.

Scottish Education Secretary, Angela Constance, claimed the record pass marks were a sign that the new qualification system was working, saying: “After a period of change, moving towards full implementation of the new qualifications, all the trends are shifting in the right direction.”

She said the increase in Scots-domiciled students securing a place at university was “very positive news indeed”.

NUS Scotland also welcomed the increase in overall acceptance rates to higher education.

President Vonnie Sandlan said: "Scotland has another record year of university entrants, and a clear increase in comparison to the rest of the UK.

“We shouldn’t just be proud of that, but hugely encouraged by the good news it is for our students, universities, and Scotland as a whole.”

However Scottish applicants who missed out may find it harder to obtain a place through ‘clearing’ than their counterparts in the rest of the UK, due to strict regulations regarding student quotas.

Clearing is the system where students who were unable to achieve the grades to get into their first or second choice of universities may apply for spare places on undersubscribed courses across the UK.

Unfortunately for Scottish students, strict regulations following the abolition of tuition fees limit the number of Scottish and EU students a university may accept, while leaving courses open to applicants across the rest of the UK.

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