Fair Access to Higher Education: progress and challenges

Third annual report of the Commissioner for Fair Access in which he assesses the progress and challenges on fair access in Scotland.

Note on statistics

Data on progress towards fair access, in terms of the proportion of entrants from SIMD20 areas, is taken from HESA's Higher Education Student Statistics: UK 2018-19 and from the SFC's Report on Widening Access 2018-19 (April 2020).

For law, medicine and creative arts and design the applications and admissions data is derived from UCAS end-of-cycle reports and HESA student data reports, and the graduate employment and earnings data from HESA's Destinations of Leavers in Higher Education (DLHE) and the Scottish Governments's Longitudinal Outcomes from Universities (LEO).

In the case of other forms of disadvantage - age, care-experience, disability, ethnicity and gender - data has been taken from HESA student data reports and the SFC's Report on Widening Access 2018-19 and earlier Report on Widening Access 2017-18 (May 2019, revised in December 2019). Data on students receiving the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA) are taken from Students Awards Agency Scotland's Higher Education Support in Scotland 2018-19 (October 2019).

In a few instances data refers to all UK domiciled students in Scottish higher education institutions rather than to Scottish domiciled students. Where this is the case this wider coverage is indicated.

Throughout this report, SIMD20 is used as an abbreviation for the most deprived quintile of communities in Scotland as measured by SIMD. It is not to be confused with SIMD 2020, the most recent recalculation of the SIMD index in January 2020. The figures in this report are based on the 2016 recalculation of SIMD, which was current during the period it covers.


Email: karen.frew@gov.scot

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