More students from poor areas enter university

This year's Scottish Funding Council report on widening access to university records small progress towards targets

Julia Belgutay

Widening access to university: More students from poor areas are going to university in Scotland, research shows

The number of students entering universities and colleges from the most deprived 20 per cent of Scotland’s neighbourhoods has gone up marginally in the past year, a new report shows.

According to the fourth Scottish Funding Council Report on Widening Access, 15.9 per cent of Scottish-domiciled full-time, first-degree entrants in 2018-19 came from those neighbourhoods, compared with 15.6 per cent the previous year.


In depth: Fewer students complete their college courses

More on this: 'Colleges show there is no wrong path to success'

News: Schools and colleges 'should assess joint performance'


Widening access to university

Scotland’s Commission on Widening Access recommended that by 2030, students from the 20 per cent most deprived backgrounds should represent 20 per cent of entrants to higher education, and equality of access should be seen in the college and university sectors.

By 2021, students from the 20 per cent most deprived backgrounds should represent, at least, 16 per cent of full-time, first-degree entrants to Scottish universities. By 2026, students from the 20 per cent most deprived backgrounds should represent, at least, 18 per cent of full-time, first-degree entrants to Scottish universities.

In 2018-19, Scottish-domiciled undergraduate entrants from the most deprived 20 per cent of neighbourhoods to college made up almost a quarter (24.8 per cent) of entrants – up from 24.3 per cent in 2017-18, according to today's SFC report. 

Over nine in 10 Scottish-domiciled, full-time, first-degree entrants completed year one and remained in higher education in 2018-19, but that was slightly below the retention rate of 92.5 per cent in 2017-18. Among SIMD-20 entrants (those from the most deprived 20 per cent of neighbourhoods), the retention rate was 86.8 per cent in 2018-19, compared with 89.4 per cent in 2017-18.

Around one in seven Scottish-domiciled, full-time, first-degree qualifiers were from the 20 per cent most deprived areas in Scotland in 2018-19 – and 21.9 per cent of Scottish-domiciled undergraduate qualifiers from college were from these areas in Scotland, down from 24 per cent in 2017-18.

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay

Julia Belgutay is head of FE at Tes

Find me on Twitter @JBelgutay

Latest stories