The huge shift in university applications: in numbers

Dramatic rise in school leavers from the poorest areas applying for university shows impact of cancelling exams

Henry Hepburn

There has been a big rise in university applications from students in disadvantaged areas in Scotland, Ucas figures show

A huge rise in university applications from poorer parts of Scotland has been revealed by new figures.

After the cancellation of Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exams last year and the eventual decision to rely on teachers' professional judgement in deciding students' grades, the new figures are being seen by many as compelling evidence for why the qualifications system needs a radical overhaul.

So what did the new annual statistics from university admissions body Ucas show us?

52,190 The rise in applications to Scottish universities.

504,740 The number of applications made to Scottish institutions before the January deadline, up from 452,550 last year.

15% The increase in applications from students from the most deprived backgrounds.


A year ago: University deprived background targets are nearly met

Priestley review of SQA results fiasco: 17 key findings

Also this week: Scotland 'not giving up on rejoining Erasmus scheme'


40% The drop in applications from European Union students (the EU students starting this autumn would be the first cohort not to be given free tuition).

27% The rise in applications from outside the EU.

Grades 'should be based on teacher judgement'

Ross Greer, the Scottish Greens' education spokesperson, tweeted about the Ucas figures: "Amazing what happens when working-class young people are graded based on the professional judgement of their teachers, rather than an SQA algorithm assigning grades by postcode or an exams system designed to entrench inequality."

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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