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% of students entering university to be from Scotland's 20% most deprived backgrounds.


The focus of our work is on helping more people from disadvantaged backgrounds enter higher education. We:

We are also:


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 which are represented by Universities Scotland. We fund these through the Scottish Funding Council.

Bills and legislation

The Education (Recognised Bodies) (Scotland) Order 2018 is a list of bodies authorised by Royal Charter or Act of Parliament to grant degrees. The Education (Listed Bodies) (Scotland) Order 2018 is a list of bodies authorised to provide courses in preparation for degrees to be awarded by recognised bodies and/or are a constituent college, school, hall or institution of a university which is such a recognised body.

The Higher Education Governance (Scotland) Act 2016 put in place measures to improve and modernise the governance of higher education institutions.

Archive content

To access information that was on the previous website see the archive of universities content



Telephone: 0300 244 4000

Scottish Government
Advanced Learning and Science Directorate
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
G2 8LU