COLLEGE students will be able to win places at Scottish universities under a new initiative to widen access to higher education.
The associate degree programme at Edinburgh College will allow those completing a two-year HND course to then progress into a degree course at one of four Scottish universities.
The initiative, which has received money from the Scottish Funding Council, is part of nationwide attempts to increase the number of students from working-class backgrounds in Scotland’s universities and will create 145 additional places from August.
Edinburgh College – which was formed through a merger of Telford, Stevenson and Jewel and Esk colleges – will work in partnership with Aberdeen University, Edinburgh Napier, Heriot-Watt and Queen Margaret.
Across Scotland, a total of 850 new places will be created for students who will study for two years in college and then two more in university.
Ray McCowan, vice principal of Edinburgh College, said: “We have the highest number of places in Scotland so far for this programme and are delighted to be working with our university partners on this brand new approach to more students successfully accessing higher education.”
Laurence Howells, interim chief executive at the Scottish Funding Council, added: “This is a really exciting investment for us. It’s the perfect illustration of colleges and universities joining forces to provide something new and valuable for widening access, student opportunity and skills for jobs in the economy.”
The Scottish Government has made widening access one of the main themes of its reform of higher education under the Post-16 Education Bill. The next set of outcome agreements, which require universities to sign up to targets on widening access, are expected to be published later this week.