UCAS Reveals Wealth Gap at Scottish Universities is Growing

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Credit: Jonny Mowat

Austen Shakespeare
Reporter

The wealthiest students are still more likely to enter universities in Scotland than the least privileged, according to recent UCAS figures.

The number of deprived students going to university has increased by 0.8%, whereas the number of the wealthiest students has increased by 2.8%.

The Scotsman claims that: “In 2006, 18-year-olds from the 20 per cent least-deprived areas were 5.8 times as likely to enter university as those from the 20 per cent most deprived areas, and this has decreased to 3.9 times in 2016.”

The Scottish government recently pledged to create a more equal platform for all potential students regardless of background. Professor Peter Scott was appointed as the Fair Access Commissioner who would head the committee that acts on this pledge.

After the appointment, Universities Scotland stated that: “Professor Scott’s role as Commissioner is vital in marshallingschools, colleges, universities and others to address the challenge to close the attainment gap and promote wider access to higher education.”

Scottish Labour MSP Iain Gray lambasted the government, stating: “It goes to show that warm words from the SNP aren’t enough, closing the attainment gap will take more investment in our schools.

“Nicola Sturgeon has promised that every child, regardless of their background, would have an equal chance of going to university”.

In a speech to the Scottish parliament in 2014, Sturgeon declared: “I want us to determine now that a child born today in one of our most deprived communities will, by the time he or she leaves school, have the same chance of going to university as a child born in one of our least deprived communities.”

Scottish Labour maintain that a higher tax rate on the richest in Scotland and redistributing the tax into schools are the best ways of eliminating the attainment gap.