Universities Scotland have welcomed the publication of the Report on Widening Access 2019-20 by the sector’s funding body, the Scottish Funding Council. The report states that:
- 16.4% of full-time first-degree entrants to university were from an SIMD20 background. This is an increase from 15.9% in 2018-19. This means that universities have met the Commission on Widening Access (COWA)’s target of 16% by 2021/22, two years ahead of schedule.
- An increase of 0.2% from 1.0% (320) to 1.2% (370) of full-time first-degree entrants being care experienced.
- Retention rates for those from SIMD20 backgrounds has increased year on year from 86.8% to 87.5%.
- 8.11% of graduating students were of non-white ethnicity (up from 7.7% the previous year).
- 15.0% of full-time first-degree entrants had a declared disability (up from 14.7% in 2018-19).
- A greater proportion of entrants with Higher National (NH) articulated from college into university with full credit (58.1% vs 55%), a key component of CoWA.
Reflecting on the report, Director of Universities Scotland, Alastair Sim said:
“Reaching our interim target two years ahead of schedule is testament to the actions taken by universities to ensure that regardless of background, you can get to and thrive at university. From the sector working together to change admissions which make them the most progressive in the UK, to our commitment to care experienced learners, to universities’ close work with schools and colleges, today’s positive results have been driven by the hard work of both universities and learners.
“It has been a challenging year for all, but we know the pandemic hasn’t impacted all of society in an equal manner. We still not do know the full impact of COVID-19 on people’s education, but the university sector will remain committed to widening access and helping people of all backgrounds reach their potential.”