An increase in university places in Scotland shows that scrapping tuition fees and keeping access to higher education free was the right thing to do, Education Secretary Michael Russell said today.
Mr Russell was speaking following the publication of today’s UCAS statistics which show overall acceptances to Scottish institutions are up by 0.7 per cent which is around 250 extra places compared to last year.
This is compared to an 8 per cent decrease in places for all young people at English universities, a 5.1 per cent decrease in Wales and a 4.5 per cent decrease in Northern Ireland.
Mr Russell said:
“Scotland is the only country in the UK today with an increase in the number of student places for its young people.
“Alongside our commitment to uphold Scotland’s long-standing principle of free education, we invested more than £1 billion in universities this year to protect places for Scottish students.
“Already, today’s initial figures from UCAS show that scrapping tuition fees and investing in higher education was the right thing to do.
“This is fantastic news as pupils, parents and teachers across Scotland celebrate the best exam results ever. The vast majority of our high-achieving pupils who want a place at university will secure a place.
“Of course university is just one of many routes for our young people. This is why we have committed to providing a place in education or training to every single young person aged between 16 and 19 in Scotland. No young person will be without opportunity or support to realise their full ambition.”
The fact that universities can now charge students from the rest of the UK has had no bearing on the number of places available to Scottish students. Scotland’s universities continue to protect the number of places available to Scottish applicants
According to the Scottish government, the final figures will not be available for some time yet, however, today’s UCAS figures show that acceptances by Scottish students at Scottish universities are broadly in line with this time last year and thousands of applications are still being processed.