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Widening Access Report 2021-22

The Scottish Funding Council has published its annual Widening Access 2021-22 report.

The report highlights the significant role that Scotland’s colleges play in offering individuals opportunities for progression and pathways into university. In 2021-22, the report shows that 8,690 students used their HN qualification to gain a place at university, compared to 7,490 in 2020-21. More than half of articulating students – 4,705 – used Advanced Standing to enter university into second or third year of a degree, accelerating their learning journey.

The report also shows an overall increase in the number of people undertaking degree courses from the most deprived backgrounds. Despite the proportion of entrants from the 20% most deprived areas falling slightly, the Scottish Government’s targets for widening access have again been met.

A spokesperson for Colleges Scotland said: “We’re pleased to see the numbers of students articulating into university rising, especially around Advanced Standing which means students aren’t repeating learning gained at college.

“The report shows that equality of access continues to be achieved in the tertiary education sector for those living in Scotland’s most deprived communities, which is encouraging. Students at college in this period were also still under some pandemic restrictions so the results are very welcome.

“Scotland’s colleges make a substantial contribution to tertiary education, recruiting over 24% of Scottish-domiciled entrants to higher education courses from the 20% most deprived areas.

“In 2021-22, 45.6% of full-time first-degree entrants from the 20% most deprived areas progressed to university after graduating from college. The report demonstrates the college sector’s commitment to making education accessible for everyone.

“And, more than 94% of HE graduates, and more than 93% of FE graduates, with a declared disability reached positive destinations within 6 months of qualifying.”

The report also highlights the growing number of care-experienced students and those who are combining study with caring responsibilities. Over 56% of students with caring responsibilities are aged 25 or over. This shows that colleges are continuing to make an impact and give people of all ages and backgrounds opportunities to improve their life chances and career prospects.

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