8 April 2020

Education statistics published this morning have shown that there has been a noted increase in the number of students from the most deprived areas in Scotland attending Scottish universities.

The statistics show that In 2018-19, 15.9 per cent of Scottish-domiciled full-time first degree entrants to Scottish universities were from the 20 per cent most deprived areas in Scotland.

This accounts for an increase of 250 entrants from 2017-18’s figure of 15.6 per cent.

Despite this, only 86.8 per cent of Scottish-domiciled full-time first degree entrants were retained in higher education in 2018-19 from the 20 per cent most deprived areas, a noted drop from 89.4 per cent in 2017-18.

Commenting, Scottish Labour Education Spokesperson Iain Gray said:

“The rise in the number of students from deprived areas matriculating at Scotland’s universities is very welcome, and shows that some progress is being made in widening access to higher education for all in our society.

“Despite this progress, it is clear that issues persist around retention of students from deprived areas at Scotland’s universities, issues that may well be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Scottish Labour welcomes the measures put in place by Scottish universities to support students during this pandemic, and encourage the Scottish Government to continue to work constructively with our universities to reform student support so that those from the most deprived areas are given all the support they need to thrive.

Above all, Ministers must start work with universities now to support them in ensuring this progress is not reversed by the impact of COVID-19”
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