It provides an analysis of:
- Widening access policy levers (Section 1);
- UCAS headline data on applications, acceptances and entry rates by students from different social backgrounds across the UK (Sections 2 and 3);
- Higher education initial participation rates (HEIPR) in Scotland and the rest of the UK (Section 4);
- UK differences in participation rates with regard to type of university and social background using HESA data (Section 5);
- Cross-UK institutional comparisons using HESA benchmarks (Section 6)
- Widening participation activity and debates in Scottish higher education institutions, particularly the ancient universities (Section 7).
This report is written by Elisabet Weedon, Gitit Kadar-Satat, Lucy Hunter Blackburn and Sheila Riddell.
- The Scottish Government should ensure that additional places are available to meet rising demand.
- Bridging programmes to encourage successful higher education destinations should be expanded, alongside effective career and subject advice in schools.
- A Commissioner for Fair Access should be appointed to oversee progress on widening access, independent of government and universities.
- Both the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills should provide a breakdown of the Higher Education Initial Participation Rate by social class and type of institution attended.
- Widening participation initiatives need to be planned carefully to avoid duplication, and rigorous evaluation needs to run alongside implementation.