Colleges exceeding targets

Higher attainment among groups with barriers to learning.

A higher proportion of students from Scotland’s most deprived areas successfully completed substantial college courses last year, as did more students with disabilities.

New statistics from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) also show colleges have exceeded targets on the number of full-time equivalent places by more than 2,400 students.

Further and Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“Once again our colleges have exceeded our target on full-time equivalent places, while continuing to offer opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to fulfil their potential. This means more students are gaining the education and valuable skills they need for success, and is a testament to the fantastic work being done in the college sector.

“The Scottish Government wants everyone, no matter their background, to have access to learning. Therefore, I am particularly pleased that we’re seeing increases in the successful completion rates for students from deprived backgrounds, as well as those with disabilities. We know there is always more to do, however, these results show our college sector has equality at its heart.”


The figures show that, in 2017-18:

  • Scotland’s colleges exceeded the government’s 116,269 full-time equivalent target by 2,415
  • Successful completion rates for students from the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland increased by 0.4 percentage points
  • Completion rates for students with declared disabilities increased by 0.5 percentage points
  • For learners aged 25 and over, successful completion rates increased by 0.3 percentage points
  • 66.1% of students on full-time further education courses completed successfully

‘Substantial’ college courses are courses lasting 160 hours or more.

The withdrawal rate in full-time further education courses has dropped from 27.9% in 2008-09 to 25.1% in 2017-18. On full-time higher education courses at colleges, the withdrawal rate has reduced from 21.3% to 18.4% in the same period.


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