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14/05/14 13:42

Wider access to study

More opportunities for students from poorer backgrounds.

New goals have been set to ensure a student’s background is no barrier to entering further or higher education.

As part of the publication of outcome agreements for colleges and universities, Education Secretary Michael Russell announced an increase of 2.5 percentage points in the proportion of students from the most deprived communities who could expect a place at a university in Scotland by 2016/17 compared to 2011/12.

Universities are taking a range of actions to widen participation including developing their admissions policies to take into account students’ backgrounds and considering how summer schools and other programmes could focus on students from deprived or non-traditional backgrounds.

The Scottish Funding Council also expects the number of students articulating from college to second or third year of university to increase to more than 4,000 by 2016/17 – a 41 per cent rise from 2011/12 – in today’s publication.

Mr Russell said:

“Outcome agreements give a greater transparency to the work our universities and colleges do. They allow us to chart the real progress that has been made in the three years since their introduction and demonstrate how the sectors are contributing to our national outcomes. Today’s publication sets an ambitious agenda for the coming years and our investment of £1.6 billion into further and higher education.

“More students from deprived backgrounds are successfully completing courses at our colleges and universities, but our institutions can do even better and ensure that education in Scotland is based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.

“Articulation based on partnerships between colleges and universities will provide more students the opportunity to complete an HNC or HND at college before transferring into a university degree course, potentially benefiting thousands of students.

“We have examples of thriving partnerships across the country like this one between the University of Stirling and Forth Valley College or Crichton Campus in Dumfries and Galloway that are changing the way that potential students view courses and open up new possibilities.”

Launching the publication, Mr Russell met Applied Biological Sciences students taking part in a joint Forth Valley College and Stirling University course. The skills programme between the college and university also offers a qualification in Heritage and Conservation and will introduce further courses in Digital Media and Applied Computing.

Laurence Howells, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council said: “Colleges and universities are continuing to be ambitious for Scotland and for their learners. In the college sector mergers are leading to better support for students, a wider curriculum and more students being able continue seamlessly to university courses.

“Universities are widening access to higher education in other ways too as well as continuing to perform world-leading research and support innovation in our economy. Today’s announcement is good news and we should all be proud of the achievements of our colleges and universities.”

Notes to editors

The Outcome Agreements can be read at www.sfc.ac.uk/outcome They focus on seven key areas:

  • Widening Access
  • High Quality Learning
  • Right Learning in the Right Place
  • A Developed Workforce
  • World-Class Research
  • University-Industry Collaboration
  • Sustainable Institutions.

The Crichton Campus is a unique collaboration between three Universities – the University of Glasgow, the University of West of Scotland and the Open University – Dumfries and Galloway College and Scotland’s Rural College. The campus provides the opportunity for students who would previously had to have moved away to gain a university qualification.

The estimated number of students articulating from college to second of third year of university over five years is:

2011/12 3,000
2012/13 3,500
2014/15 target 3,600
2016/17 target 4,100