Universities Scotland response to confirmation of funding from Scottish Government for additional 2020/21 entrants

Today [Friday 21 August], Mr Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, confirmed that the Scottish Government will fund the additional 2020/21 entrants to university for the duration of their four/five year degree. The Minister also helpfully acknowledged that the Scottish Government’s decision to revert to teacher-awarded grades would have implications for the number of university places available in 2021/22 for pupils who achieved Highers whilst in S5 and who will be eligible to apply to university when the new admissions cycle opens on 8 September.

Responding to these positive developments, Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, said:

“We warmly welcome this cast-iron assurance from the Minister that for every additional student who gets a place at university, on the strength of their teacher-awarded grades, will be funded this year and for every year of their degree. That’s very helpful clarity on the long-term nature of this commitment.

“The Minister is absolutely right to start thinking of S5 pupils and next year’s admissions cycle, which starts in just a few weeks. His decisiveness on this front is very welcome and should give pupils, their families and universities helpful reassurance. The SQA decision affects both S5 and S6 pupils and is very likely to mean that more S5 pupils are well placed to apply to university next year, and some may be thinking about university for the first time. Whilst the situation over the last few weeks has been less of an immediate pressure for S5 pupils, this decision to revert to teacher-awarded grades directly affects them and they deserve the same opportunities as the cohort one year ahead of them.”

“Universities have been working intensively with the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding council and others to work through the implications of this policy decision. Universities are committed to creating as many opportunities as possible for the school and college leavers who now hold the grades they needed to get into university.”