George Welcomes Rise in Student Applications

George with UWS Principal Seamus McDade and students at the opening of the new student accommodationPaisley’s MSP George Adam, who is a member of the Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee has today welcomed the figures showing a rise in the number of Scots applying to study in Scotland. The statistics, published today by UCAS, show that there has been a 6.1% rise in the number of applications to study in Scotland, including a record percentage of 18-year-olds.

However, George has called on the UK Government to act on the long-running issue of visas for international students, which Scotland’s universities, the NUS and the Scottish Government all agree are damaging universities’ abilities to attract international students. This week, Vince Cable – one of the most senior members of the Coalition Government – admitted that the Home Office is ‘not treating with proper respect’ the university sector.

Commenting, George said:

“These are hugely encouraging figures and show the Scottish universities continue to be held in high esteem by students from Scotland and from further afield.

“Having sat on the Education Committee which heard evidence from people across the spectrum on legislation to widen access in Higher Education, I was proud to support the Scottish Government’s legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament last month, which will improve access to university for students from poorer backgrounds for generations to come.

“I have seen the work first hand already being carried out by universities, particularly the one in my own constituency, UWS, where widening access and student retention are two of the main focuses for the university.

“While it is great news that applications are on the rise, we must remember that our universities could be attracting so many more international students were it not for the current rules on international student visas. UWS has greatly benefited from having a large amount of international students, as has Paisley as a town.
I recently seen a general survey conducted by marketing students at UWS. It highlighted how much current international students think of the town, which is very positive.

“With even Business Secretary Vince Cable admitting this week that the UK university sector is not being treated with proper respect by his colleagues at Westminster in the Home Office, it’s clear that Westminster is not working for Scotland’s Higher Education institutions.

“It is time for Scotland to have the powers an independent nation to ensure we fully protect the international reputation and success of our universities.”