The offer rate for Scottish pupils applying to higher institutions fell to 61 per cent in 2015 it has emerged, while reaching a record high of 67 per cent for English youngsters, according to the figures from admissions body Ucas.
The number of fully-funded places for Scottish youngsters at the country’s universities are effectively capped with fee-paying students from elsewhere in the UK and around the world outside the EU, taking up significant places.
It has prompted fresh criticism of the Scottish Government’s policy of free education for home-based youngsters amid concerns it is restricting their chances of getting a degree. The figures also show youngsters from poorer backgrounds have less chance of getting a degree.
At St Andrews University the rate for English applicants was almost twice as high as for Scots last year - at 63 per cent compared with 36 per cent. Scots youngsters with straight As are routinely turned away there.
Tory education spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “The SNP has slapped itself on the back over its free tuition policy but the cost is now becoming increasingly clear – cuts to colleges and a university entrance system which limits places for students.”
The Scottish Government said that a record number of Scottish domiciled students were accepted to universities north of the Border last year.