Briefings & Evidence

Petition PE2009: Ensure fair access to Scottish universities for all residents in Scotland and the UK, a letter to the Committee

Following a request from the Scottish Parliament’s Citizen Participaiton and Public Petitions Committee, we have written a letter to the Committee regarding whether data from each university on how many Scottish-domiciled students are accepted onto each course annually could be published.

In our response, we have highlighted three key points:

  • Universities adhere to two codes of admissions and are deeply committed to fairness in admission to university. Transparency and the need for institutions to protect applicants’ interests are core to both codes. So, we understand the Committee’s perspective and in principle support, the exploration of how data might contribute to greater transparency and insight for applicants.
  • The complexity of admission data in relation to widening access and how data would need to reflect and capture the use of contextual admissions and minimum entry requirements for applicants with contextual flag to ensure they are not misinformed.
  • There is an increased number of non-controlled funded places for the next academic year, compared to 2019/20 and that in 2023, 75.7% of Scottish applicants were at university at the start of term, which is the highest proportion in the last ten years.

We also share with the Committee that there is a problem regarding underfunding in universities and the education sector as a whole which has unintended consequences in this space. Also, that it is important to have availability of good careers service within schools to ensure that pupils are informed about subject choices and how to build their path to university.