Commenting on student outcomes inequality highlighted in the latest Fair Access Commissioner paper, Sandra White MSP highlights the need to do more access and retention.

Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin said:

“This Scottish Government’s commitment to providing education and opportunity to all is transforming this country, and now we have more people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds than ever at University.

“The SNP’s free education and widening access agenda has helped Scotland achieve some of the lowest youth unemployment rates in Europe and is helping Scottish students to achieve their dreams and shape their lives.

“However latest findings show us that there is much work to do, especially on access to our ancient universities, attainment, and retention across the sector. In subject fields across Scotland we see a closer balance between the backgrounds of students yet the disparity is still pronounced at our old and ancient universities, as well as in the continuation and completion of classified degrees.

“I am pleased that the Scottish Government recognises the need to continue the pace of change in University access and I hope that our institutions will also continue to work towards meeting the challenge.”

Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP said:

“This report brings in to sharp focus the extent and the range of the barriers which result in students from the most deprived backgrounds experiencing inequality at every step of their journey through university and into adult life.

“The Commissioner sets out a timely challenge to us all to do more to address this shocking inequality. Certainly I accept that challenge on behalf of the Government and would encourage universities to do likewise.

“It is an issue that I have raised consistently with university principals and intend to do so again through the next Widening Access Delivery Group. I have already asked the Scottish Funding Council to consider changes to the university outcome agreements. If more needs to be done to improve their effectiveness, then I will not hesitate to act.

“We must all be focused on picking up the pace of change. I am absolutely determined to ensure that more young people from our poorest communities don’t just make it to fresher’s fair, but to graduation day and beyond.”

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