Applications to enter university from 18-year-olds in the poorest areas of Scotland have fallen, according to a new report from the admissions service UCAS.
“We know that some institutions just aren’t pulling their weight. That needs to change”
Jodie Waite, Education Spokeswoman for the National Union of Students Scotland
The number of applications to university in the most disadvantaged parts of Scotland decreased from 1,970 in 2017 to 1,900 this year. The first reported decrease since 2008.
The report also revealed that whilst applications of those from poor areas of Scotland decreased there was a 1.8% increase in the application rate of those living in the most advantaged areas.
This means the gap between poorest and most affluent applicants has widened whilst applications to Scottish universities increased overall.
Institutions such as The University of Edinburgh and The University of Glasgow have already introduced schemes such as adjusted offers to help applicants from deprived regions of the country achieve a place at university.
The Scottish Government has provided funding for additional places at Scottish Universities as part of its commitment to widen and increase access to higher education for students from the most disadvantaged 20% of households.
Education spokeswoman for The National Union of Students Scotland Jodie Waite told the BBC: “The Scottish government has, rightly, made widening access a priority. But we know that some institutions just aren’t pulling their weight. That needs to change. We need to see concerted action- from all institutions- to boost admissions from those from poorer backgrounds.
“We know that the current system of student support is broken- forcing the poorest higher education students into the most debt, and giving further education students no guarantee of support.
“That’s why, as part of this budget, we’re calling on the Scottish government to commit substantial new investment to deliver a world-class financial support system to match our world-class education system.”
In England, however applications of 18-year-olds from the most disadvantages areas has increased 9.9% since 2006, making them 81% more likely than ever to apply for higher education.
Applications in general have also increased in 2018, with 18-year-olds more likely than ever to apply for university with an application rate of 37.4%.
Clare Marchant, UCAS chief executive said that “higher education continues to be a highly popular choice for 18-year-olds”
The report also demonstrated a gap in the application rates between men and women
The report also demonstrated a gap in the application rates between men and women, in England women are 36% more likely than men to apply to university while in Scotland the difference means women are 56% more likely.
These statistics demonstrate a worrying shift for the diversity of university student bodies in forthcoming academic years.