Record number of students from deprived areas at university

A record number of full time first degree students at Scottish universities were from the most deprived areas in Scotland last year. 

New figures show that, in 2017/18, 15.6% of students entering university were from the 20% most deprived areas. This is 0.4% short of the Government’s target for 2021. 

Last year also saw an increase in the total number of Scottish students enrolling in Scottish universities. 

The statistics, published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), show the latest progress in the drive to widen access to higher education.

Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“These statistics highlight the good progress being made on widening access to higher education. I’m pleased to see more Scots going to university here and a record increase in entrants from our most deprived areas.

“Combined with recent UCAS statistics, this shows demonstrable progress towards giving every young person in Scotland an equal chance of success, no matter their background or circumstance.

“It is also great to see a record number of enrolments and an increased number of qualifications achieved in 2017/18. All of this speaks to the level of excellence found across our higher education institutions.”

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:

“We are lucky in Paisley to have the University of the West of Scotland right on our doorstep, and for years UWS have been leading the way on widening access to higher education for all.

“Back in 2015, 27% of Scottish-based students were from the 20% most deprived postcodes and UWS are the UK’s number 1 university for accepting students from further education. Additionally, the University have achieved a 43% rise in applications from young people leaving care – with an enrolment increase of 500%. “These are very promising statistics and as Paisley’s MSP, I’m proud to have such an inclusive institution in my constituency. I can only encourage more and more young people across Scotland to apply to University and know that they will be welcomed and supported regardless of background.”