University applicants on the rise in Scotland

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THE number of applications to universities rose by more than 11 per cent in some parts of Scotland this year despite marked falls elsewhere in the UK, new analysis has shown.

Parliamentary constituencies Glasgow East and Aberdeen North saw rises of 11.2 per cent and 11.1 per cent respectively, according to an analysis of figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (Ucas) carried out by education specialists Ambitious Minds.

Figures released earlier this year by Ucas showed a 0.1 per cent rise in applicant numbers to Scottish universities, compared with an 8.9 per cent slump across the UK as a whole. However, the slight increase in Scotland was mainly down to rising numbers of EU and international applicants.

Ambitious Minds, which analysed the figures by constituency, found 12 of the 20 best-performing constituencies across the UK were in Scotland, with only Central Ayrshire, and West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine seeing falls greater than the UK average. Final acceptance figures, the number of people actually taking up places at university, are expected to be released by Ucas next month.

Commenting on the situation in England, Sean McGuire, chief executive of Ambitious Minds, said: “Going to university is no longer an automatic choice for a teenager with good A-levels. It has become an investment decision that usually must be made by the family as an economic unit, and it is a decision that has significant risk.

“Young people who go to university are burdening themselves with debts of more than £30,000 that will stay with them for decades if they aren’t paid off. This concern is particularly acute in a fragile jobs market with high rates of youth and graduate unemployment that shows little sign of sustained improvement.”