The report on FE distribution, shows that 63 per cent of the population are within four miles of a college and over 90 per cent are only a 30-minute drive away. Advanced and full-time students travel the greatest distances.
The data will be important in informing the decisions of the Scottish Further Education Funding Council on whether further provision is needed.
Bob Kay, chairman of the Association of Scottish Colleges, welcomed the findings. "Almost all colleges offer courses at all levels in the main subjects, providing a wide choice for students," he said.
The survey, by Gillian Raab and Kirsteen Davidson, shows that distance-learning courses are also popular. However, there was almost a total absence of such courses in the west of Scotland. But the figures are for 199697 before, for example, the Glasgow Telecolleges Network was established.
The figures show that the highest participation for distance learning was in Edinburgh. The numbers studying for no recognised qualification were greatest in Inverclyde.
Participation in non-advanced full-time courses is more common for those from deprived areas. But part-time study appears to be more affected by proximity.