Scotland's universities are amongst the best in the world. We want every child, no matter their background, to have an equal chance of entering and succeeding in higher education.
By 2030, we want 20 per cent of students entering university to be from Scotland's 20 per cent most deprived backgrounds.
The focus of our work is on helping more people from disadvantaged backgrounds enter higher education. We:
- have kept access to university education free of tuition fees for Scottish domiciled and EU students
- are providing financial support to students, particularly those who need it most, as well as carrying out a review of the support system to ensure it is fair and effective
- have appointed an independent commissioner for fair access to help drive change across the system and develop a framework for fair access to share best practice
- are supporting a range of initiatives aimed at widening access to higher education as well as setting targets for individual universities through the Scottish Funding Council
- are helping more students from deprived backgrounds gain a place to study medicine
- have set up an Access Delivery Group to help ensure the whole education system works together and to monitor progress in implementing the 34 recommendations of the Commission on Widening Access
We are also:
- creating greater openness and transparency in the way universities are run through the Higher Education Governance (Scotland) Act 2016
- investing in university research and innovation
- supporting the internationalisation work of Scotland's universities
- reviewing the learner journey for 15 to 24 year olds to ensure the education system is as effective and efficient as possible
The 2014 to 2015 Programme for Government stated our aim that every child, irrespective of background, should have an equal chance of accessing higher education.
We set up the Commission on Widening Access to advise us on the steps necessary to achieve this.
A Blueprint for Fairness: the final report of the Commission on Widening Access was published in March 2016 and made 34 recommendations covering the whole education system. We accepted these in full and published Implementing A Blueprint for Fairness: progress report in May 2017.
Scotland has 19 autonomous higher education institutions. We fund these through the Scottish Funding Council.
Bills and legislation
The Higher Education Governance (Scotland) Act 2016 put in place measures to improve and modernise the governance of higher education institutions.
To access information that was on the previous website see the archive of universities content
Telephone: 0300 244 4000
Advanced Learning and Science Directorate
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