Fewer Scots sign on for a course in higher education

2nd September 2005 at 01:00
The number of Scottish students accepted into UK higher education courses is down by 1.8 per cent, according to the latest data. Overall, UK acceptances are up by 8.6 per cent to 299,820.

The figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) show the numbers standing at 23,653, compared with 24,086 at the same time last year. The number of Scots students accepted for courses in Scotland is also down, by 2.1 per cent, but there was an increase of 3 per cent of those from north of the border enrolled to study in England - despite raised tuition fees.

There was, by contrast, a heavy fall in the number of Scottish students going to study in Wales and Northern Ireland - down by 28 per cent and 6 per cent respectively. This reflects very small numbers, however, with just 48 Scots heading for HE courses in Wales and 15 to Northern Ireland.

Other figures show a sharp contrast in entry to HE according to age.

Scotland is the only one of the four home countries to experience a drop in the numbers of under-21s, a decrease of 1.6 per cent compared with a 9.8 per cent increase for students from England.

Scotland also experienced a fall in acceptances among those aged 25 and over, where there was a fall of 6.5 per cent; again, this was also the only UK decrease for this age group, where the average UK increase was 8.8 per cent.

Only among 21-24s did Scotland show an increase, by 3 per cent. But this was the smallest of the home countries, where the average rise was 8.4 per cent.

Ucas drew particular attention to what it describes as a "revival of interest" in science. Acceptances for chemistry courses across the UK are up by 17 per cent, for physics by 11 per cent and for biology by 10 per cent. There is no breakdown for each of the nations.

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