University dedication to widening access continues to reap results

We are welcoming new figures that show more people from disadvantaged areas in Scotland are applying and being accepted into university.

The figures come from UK’s shared admissions service for higher education, UCAS, who have released its data resources for the end of the 2022 application cycle.

The figures show that the number of applications from the most disadvantaged  SIMD1 neighbourhoods (the term UCAS uses for SIMD20 postcodes) have increased by 2.89% and acceptances have increased by 4.05% when compared with 2019. That’s an increase of 125 more accepted applicants into university from the 20% most deprived areas in 2022 compared to 2019. Comparisons are made with 2019, rather than with the 2020 and 2021 admissions cycles as the number of undergraduate places available in in both pandemic years was increased by the Scottish Government so as to accommodate school leavers with teacher-awarded grades.

Data published by UCAS shows:

  • Number of applicants from SIMD20 areas: 8,370 (2019: 8,135)
  • Number of accepted from SIMD20 areas: 5,785 (2019: 5,560)
  • Proportion of applicants from SIMD20 accepted: 69.1% (2019: 68.3%)

Responding on behalf of the sector, Universities Scotland Director, Alastair Sim said: “The figures demonstrate that universities across Scotland are committed, in both policy and actions, to widening access to university.

“The sector has met every target set on widening access but this success can’t detract from the scale of  the challenge. The 2030 access target is firmly in our sights but this ‘final mile’ will be the toughest phase. The erosion of Scottish Government teaching funding for universities, and wider issues with students’ lost learning during the pandemic, will accentuate the challenge over the coming years.”