Widening participation

The University’s Strategic Plan 2012-16 places widening participation at the heart of the University’s agenda as a strategic theme, with the aim of delivering an outstanding experience to students from all backgrounds.

The University’s long standing commitment to the principles of educational opportunity has resulted in over 2,600 students receiving bursaries, which totalled £6.8 million in the 2014/15 academic year. The University provides the most generous bursary scheme within the United Kingdom to students from the lowest income groups in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This commitment is further evidenced by the range of widening participation school and community outreach projects which have demonstrable impact and engaged with thousands of prospective students, the sector leading use of contextual data in admissions and the support of students during transition to degree level study while on programme to enhance retention. This includes financial support in the provision of accommodation and access bursaries. The University continues to support regional and national collaborative partnership projects by hosting and providing management and services support to the Lothians Equal Access Programme for Schools (LEAPS), Schools for Higher Education Programme (SHEP) and Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP).

The University provides ongoing support to targeted groups of those traditionally under-represented in higher education. In the 2014/15 academic year the University received over 55,000 applications, with 20,000 from Scotland. 55 per cent of our Scottish domiciled entrants had one or more widening access characteristic, an increase from 45 per cent for the previous year. Of those, over 400 came through the LEAPS project.

A new admissions policy for care leavers has been developed by the University to strengthen our existing commitment to this particular group, with students from Scotland also benefitting. The Widening Horizons project gives enhanced exchange and study abroad opportunities for widening participation students and was short listed in the Times Higher Education Initiative of the Year 2014.


Further information