More Scots at university as numbers in England fall

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THE number of Scots winning a place at university has increased, despite a “challenging environment” for higher education in the UK, new figures show.

A report released today by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) shows 30,900 Scottish applicants took up a place to study this year, a 0.3 per cent rise on the previous 12 months.

The introduction of tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year in other parts of the UK saw the overall number of applications drop by 6.6 per cent to 653,600, with the number of English applicants being accepted on to a course also falling by 6.6 per cent.

While students from the rest of the UK will pay fees north of the Border, Scots and those from elsewhere in the EU will continue to have their tuition costs met by the Scottish Government.

Ucas’ End of Cycle report also showed that the number of Scots winning a place to study in their home country rose by almost 3 per cent compared with 2011.

More than 15 per cent of English applicants to Scottish institutions were accepted, compared with around 12 per cent in 2011.

However, the majority of acceptances to Scottish universities are for Scots, with the entry rate for 18 year olds increasing by 24 per cent.

Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of Ucas, said: “The headline numbers in this report signal the challenging environment for recruitment in 2012 for parts of UK higher education.”

Meanwhile, Universities Scotland has called plans by the UK Government to increase the number of face-to-face interviews with prospective students from overseas “disproportionate and unnecessary”.

The measure was announced by Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday under plans to tighten immigration rules.