Most of the growth in the numbers qualifying from higher education, up by 13 per cent in 1995 compared with the previous year, comes from diplomas rather than degrees. A Scottish Office statistical bulletin shows that 36 per cent more students gained a diploma.
This reflects the expansion of higher education in further education colleges. There were 11,250 graduates and diplomates from FE in 1995 compared with 7,877 the previous year. The colleges now turn out more than a quarter of all graduates and diplomates compared with 8 per cent in 1985.
In 1995, more women (52 per cent) than men qualified. Although the proportion gaining first or second-class honours is similar for males and females, 8 per cent of men got a first-class degree compared with 6 per cent of women.