Record number of students from deprived areas enrolling in Scottish universities


New Higher Education Student Statistics show a new overall record number of students enrolling in Scottish institutions – an increase of 8.6% compared to last year. This includes a new record high of Scottish domiciled students enrolling at university.

A large increase in the number of non-EU domiciled students – up 17% on last year.

Commenting on the figures on the day of publication, Higher and Further Education Minister Jamie Hepburn stated: “Every young person should have an equal chance of success no matter their background or circumstance, so it is great to see the number and proportion of Scots from the most deprived areas at university hit a record high.

“By 2030, we want 20% of students entering higher education to come from Scotland’s most deprived backgrounds and the Commissioner for Fair Access has previously said that Scotland is ‘setting the pace’ in the UK in widening participation.

“Today’s data also shows the number of students enrolling at Scottish universities hit a new record high and we have seen a large increase in international students.

“This highlights the fact that Scotland, along with our world class higher education institutions, remains an attractive place to study and live for prospective students.

“However, we have seen a continued drop in EU students coming to study in Scotland following Brexit. EU students enrich our campus life and I hope we can still welcome many of them to our world-leading institutions.”

A record number of students enrolled at Scottish higher education institutions in 2020-21, an increase from last year of 8.6% (+22,385) to 282,875.

16.7% of Scottish domiciled full time first degree entrants to Scottish higher education institutions are from the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland. This is an increase of 0.3 percentage points, or 545 entrants, from 16.4% in 2019-20.