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Universities widen access to low income students

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Scottish universities are widening access to higher education

More young people from Scotland’s most deprived areas are making it to university, reveals a new report.

The Scottish Funding Council found that the proportion of first year undergraduate students from the 20% most deprived communities going to university increased from 12.8% to 13.3% between 2011/12 and 2012/13.

In 2013 the SFC spent £10 million to create about 2,000 extra university places, with more than half going to young people moving on from college to university.

While we know that universities alone can’t do it all on fair access, they can do much more

Gordon Maloney, president of the National Union of Students Scotland, said the figures were encouraging.

“While the report shows that we started from a low base, it’s a strong foundation to build on,” he said.

“With legislation on fair access and extra investment in place, we have a strong, national framework in place. It’s vital that every institution, old and new, now does all they can to turn that into strong, local efforts to boost fair access even further.”

The data also shows fewer students dropped out, with 91.3% finishing their studies, against 89.7% in 2009/10.

Maloney said it was especially encouraging to see school attainment and staying on rates continuing to improve, particularly for those from our most disadvantaged communities.

He added: “While we know that universities alone can’t do it all on fair access, they can do much more.

“Improved school performance and increasing numbers of students wanting to move from college to university give our institutions a huge opportunity to do more, and provide the opportunities that potential students need and deserve.”

Education secretary Michael Russell said: "I am very pleased to see our continuing commitment to open up further and higher education to students from all backgrounds is making a difference."



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